IEEE Wireless Communications and Networking Conference
15-19 April 2019 // Marrakech, Morocco
Touch through Wireless

Panel 3

Realizing the Wireless Future for All.


Wireless communication and its role in the facilitation of Internet access has helped realize vast economic and social benefits. However, there is often a stark contrast between what it has achieved in developed countries and the situation in developing countries. This contrast manifests also in the comparison of wireless system performances in urban and rural areas. It is a schism that finds its roots in a lack of affordable provisioning and access to communication and data networks under the current reigning economic, regulatory and technological regimes. It perpetuates the digital divide, leading to a lack of realization of true digital inclusion and the associated benefits that typically follow. Moreover, solutions that contribute to the capabilities of leading-edge communication systems such as 5G might exacerbate the rich/poor and urban/rural divides. The vast range of new applications, markets and social/economic impacts of 5G will therefore be missed in many developing and/or rural areas.

This panel investigates the opportunities, problems, and challenges towards making a difference through future wireless communication technologies, proposing solutions to help bridge the digital divide and achieve inclusive digital transformation of underserved communities. It is also in line with the UN's sustainable development goals. The outcome of this panel is expected to be a proposal of specific solutions, including those around spectrum sharing to enhance lower-frequency spectrum availability (hence, enhancing coverage and the number of people provisioned for), and technical regulatory and economic policy deployment facilitation.

Panel Discussion Points:

This panel provokes discussion guided by a few typical cases (hypothetical or real scenarios where Internet access is insufficient or absent) and by phrasing a number of questions which the panelists are asked to comment on. These questions include, for example,

  1. What prevents or hinders broadband deployment in developing countries?
  2. What are the current thoughts on 5G wireless technologies in developing countries with respect to factors like the costs of devices, costs of data plans and/or simply the inability of the users to adapt to new device interfaces?
  3. Is the arrival of 5G good news for efforts to bridge the digital divide?
  4. Can spectrum sharing techniques enhance wireless broadband access in developing and remote rural areas? How will spectrum sharing be implemented in such scenarios?
  5. Can spectrum sharing enhance the prospects of 5G in rural areas and developing countries?
  6. Are initiatives currently being undertaken to lower the costs of 5G networks? What are the roles of Wi-Fi, TVWS, long-range 5G and other technologies in this context?
  7. Which innovative technologies and business models might be suited to the commercialization of 5G in developing countries?
  8. Should 5G technologies be offered free of cost or be subsidized to encourage adoption and build the subscription base of the digitally disadvantaged or those that can’t afford it?

Panel Session Format:

  • Introduction by the Panel Chair: 10 Min.
  • Short Introductory Speech by Panelists: 20 Min.
  • Panel Questions and Answer Session : 50 Min.
  • Concluding remarks : 10 Min.

Panelist bios


Dr Oliver Holland, Advanced Wireless Technology Group, UK

Dr. Oliver Holland is an expert on spectrum sharing, spectrum in general, and 5G and future mobile communication technologies, among other topics. Among his extensive range of leadership activities, he has led major research projects on spectrum sharing and other topics, has led a major trial within the UK’s Ofcom TV White Spaces Pilot, and most recently created and led a team/submission/idea which won the €0.5M EU Collaborative Spectrum Sharing Prize. Oliver is Chair of the IEEE 1918.1 Standards Working Group on the Tactile Internet, and Chair of the IEEE Standards Committee on Mobile Communication Networks (MobiNet-SC)—both of which he spearheaded the establishment of. He is also Chair of the IEEE Dynamic Spectrum Access Networks Standards Committee (DySPAN-SC), Chair of IEEE 1900.6, Vice-Chair of IEEE 802.22 and IEEE 802.22.3, and Vice-Chair and Board Member of the IEEE ComSoc Standards Development Board, among other standards leaderships. He has served as Technical Editor and authored content in various standards. Oliver has served on the TPCs of all major conferences in mobile and wireless communications, and has served as invited speaker, session chair and panelist at numerous high profile conferences. Oliver has assumed leadership positions in various top international workshops, conferences, and journals, at levels including TPC Chair/Co-Chair, Track Chair, Workshops/Tutorials Chair, Organizational Chair, and Invited/Guest Editor, among others. He is an Editor of IEEE Transactions on Vehicular Technology. Oliver serves as Vice-Chair of IEEE Technical Committee on Cognitive Networks, and is currently Chair of the UK and Ireland Chapter of the IEEE Vehicular Technology Society (VTS), as well as Chapters Committee Chair of the VTS—thereby also being a VTS Board Member. Oliver is a Non-Executive Director of Broadway Partners, which is a company providing broadband in difficult-to-reach areas using shared spectrum. He also runs his own wireless communications consultancy company. Oliver has authored/co-authored over 150 publications, cited more than 1,800 times, and has authored/co-edited two books published by Wiley and Springer.

Dr Sudhir Dixit, Basic Internet Foundation & Oulu University, USA

Prof. Sudhir Dixit is a Senior Fellow and Evangelist of Basic Internet at the Basic Internet Foundation and heads its US operations. He is also a Board Member & Working Group Chair at the Wireless World Research Forum (WWRF). From 2015 to 2017 he was the CEO and Co-Founder of a start-up, Skydoot, Inc, in the cloud-based and collaboration space. From December 2013 to April 2015, he was a Distinguished Chief Technologist and CTO of the Communications and Media Services for the Americas Region of Hewlett-Packard Enterprise Services in Palo Alto, CA, and prior to this he was the Director of Hewlett-Packard Labs India from September 2009. From June 2009 to August 2009, he was a Director at HP Labs in Palo Alto. Before joining HP, he held various leadership positions at BlackBerry, Nokia, NSN and Verizon Communications. Sudhir Dixit has 21 patents granted by the US PTO and has published over 200 papers and edited, co-edited, or authored eight books by Wiley, Springer and Artech House. He has been a technical editor of IEEE Communications Magazine, and is presently on the editorial boards of IEEE Spectrum Magazine, Cambridge University Press Wireless Series and Springer’s Wireless Personal Communications Journal. From 2010 to 2012, he was an Adjunct Professor of Computer Science at the University of California, Davis, and, since 2010, he has been a Docent of Broadband Mobile Communications for Emerging Economies at the University of Oulu, Finland. A Life Fellow of the IEEE, Fellow of IET and IETE, Dixit holds a Ph.D. from the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, U.K. and an M.B.A. from the Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne, Florida.

Prof Jaap van de Beek, Luleå University of Technology, Sweden

Prof Jaap van de Beek, is chaired professor of Signal Processing with Lulea University of Technology, Sweden, and a Fellow of the IEEE. Prior to returning to academia in 2013, he spent over two decades in industrial telecommunications research labs with Telia Research, Nokia Networks, and for more than twelve years with Huawei Technologies. In different roles he has been involved in three generations of mobile cellular communications systems. He developed base station receiver algorithms for GSM evolution systems. He was among those pioneering OFDM as an access scheme for cellular radio in a standard proposal for the third generation systems in 1997, and during 2004-2009 he has been contributing to the preparation and specification of 3GPP's fourth generation LTE standard, for which he holds a number of essential patents. More recently, he has been developing methods that efficiently reduce spectral interference of radio transmitters, work for which he received the IEEE Communications Society Heinrich Hertz award. Since 2012, Prof. van de Beek mainly engages in improving Internet access, wireless network connectivity and cellular radio coverage in rural and remote regions.

Prof Antoine Bagula, University of the Western Cape, South Africa

Prof B. Antoine Bagula, received a Ph.D degree in Communication Systems from the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Stockholm, Sweden, and two M.Sc. degrees (Computer Engineering from Universit\'{e} Catholique de Louvain (UCL), Belgium and Computer Science from University of Stellenbosch (SUN), South Africa). He is currently a full professor and head of the Department of Computer Science at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) where he also leads the Intelligent Systems and Advanced Telecommunication (ISAT) laboratory. He is a well-published scientist in his research field which include interests in Cloud/Fog computing; Network Softwarization (e.g. NFV and SDN), Internet of Things, Blockchain Technologies, Network Security; and Next Generation Networks including 4G/5G.

Dr Luzango Mfupe, CSIR Future Wireless, Pretoria.

Dr. Luzango Mfupe is a Principal Researcher and innovator at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Meraka Institute in Pretoria, South Africa. He holds a Doctorate in Telecommunications. His main research areas include but are not limited to: futuristic fixed and mobile wireless network technologies, innovative flexible radio frequency (RF) spectrum management policy schemes to accommodate new innovative radio technologies such as machine learning and dynamic spectrum access techniques. Dr Mfupe is a senior member of IEEE and Vice-chairman of IEEE DySPAN-SC 1900.6 standardisation Work Group. Luzango is a technical leader of the CSIR Geo-location spectrum database (GLSD) project.

Dr Fisseha Mekuria, CSIR Chief Scientist.

He leads the 5G and Affordable Broadband Networks research at the CSIR. He is the proponent of a 4th leg for the 5G standards aimed at technologies for addressing the next billion unconnected population and promoting digital inclusion. He has a PhD from Linköping University, in Sweden, and has worked for 10 years as senior research Engineer at Ericsson Mobile Communications R&D lab in Sweden, where he developed over 12 US/EPO patents. He has published over 60 peer reviewed publications, worked with mobile and internet service industry: Setting up next generation network labs, Development of mobile applications programming courses, Network resource sharing for affordable broadband connectivity, and development of telecom regulatory frameworks and capacity building for telecom regulators in Africa. He is at present working on disruptive 5G research in dynamic spectrum sharing and extending 5G to accommodate affordable broadband network technologies and setting up 5G test-beds for testing relevant use cases and accelerate a smooth migration to 5G. The group lead by him has successfully completed the international qualification process and standardization of white space spectrum databases in collaboration with the UK Ofcom regulator and is working on developing smart spectrum toolboxes for 5G use cases. He is a member of advisory board for a number of EU FP7 projects and is a Judge for the GSMA global mobile awards in support of Green technologies for future wireless networks. Dr Mekuria is also involved in postgraduate research development in wireless communications with a number of African universities through his engagement as Adj. Professor at the University of Johannesburg, Faculty of Electrical and Electronics Engineering Science, South Africa.

Distinguished Panelists

Jin Bains, Facebook Connectivity, USA


Jin the Head of the Connectivity Lab, Space & Cellular Team, Jin oversees and directs key aspects of Facebook’s efforts to increase access to affordable connectivity across the globe, including the use of terrestrial, low-altitude, and satellite systems. Jin holds a BS and MS in Electrical Engineering from UC Davis and Stanford, respectively. Before joining Facebook, Jin spent over ten years at National Instruments, where he served as the Vice President of R&D, RF and Wireless Products, managing a global R&D organization of engineers and driving innovation with internal experts and key outside partners. Jin began his career as an RF Engineer and R&D manager for Hewlett Packard and Agilent Technologies.

Sid Roberts, Microsoft Airband, USA.

Sid is the director of engineering on Microsoft’s Airband Initiative team, based in Redmond, Washington, where he has technical responsibility for global connectivity projects. Hired into Microsoft’s Technology Policy Group five and a half years ago to help move TV white space radio solutions from the lab to wide scale deployment, Sid has over 35 years of telecommunications experience, with 20 of those years directly in the wireless operator segment. Before joining Microsoft, Sid designed and deployed low latency microwave networks for High Frequency Traders, and prior to that he was Vice President of Systems Engineering at Open Range Communications, a WiMAX operator serving rural America. He also spent three years as director of engineering at a startup company called Sotto Wireless which was an MVNO that designed and deployed a VoIP over WiFi solution for consumers and SMBs. A large portion of Sid’s experience comes from nearly 15 years with McCaw/AT&T/AT&T Wireless, where he was Director of Radio Access Network Engineering and spent seven years with the International division. During this tenure, he supported business development activities and managed design and deployment of GSM networks all around the world. In this role and others, Sid focused on the strategic aspects of the business, responding to RFPs, negotiating supplier contracts, and managing third parties to accomplish large wireless network design and implementation projects. Before coming to AT&T Wireless, Sid spent eight years in the defense industry with Rockwell International and Martin Marietta (now Lockheed Martin), designing and modeling high frequency radio systems and satellite based communications networks. Sid has a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and a M.S. in Telecommunications Policy from The University of Denver.

Prof Josef Noll, University of Oslo & Basic Internet Foundation, Norway

Prof. stip. Dr. Josef Noll holds a professor stipend from the University of Oslo in the area of Mobile Services. Working areas include Mobile Authentication, Wireless Broadband Access, Personalised Services, Mobile-Fixed Integration and the Evolution to 4G systems. He is also Senior Advisor at Telenor R&I in the Products and Markets group, and Senior Advisor in Movation. He was project leader of Eurescom's 'Broadband services in the Intelligent Home' and use-case leader in the EU `FP6 'Adaptive Services Grid (ASG)' projects, and has initiated a.o. the EU's 6th FP ePerSpace and several Eurescom projects. Earlier he was Programme manager for the UMTS++ Mobile Broadband Access programme, co-ordinator for the beyond-UMTS co-operation with the Norwegian Technical University (NTNU), and project leader of the EURESCOM 'Public Bluetooth Access' , the 'Operator's Vision on Systems Beyond 3G' , '4G - the next frontier', the 'Service delivery', and the 'UMTS radio aspects' projects. Prior to that he was head of the 'Mobility and Personal Communications group' at Telenor R&D. He joined UniK in 2005, and Telenor R&D in 1997, coming from the European Space Agency, where he was staff member (1993-1997) in the Electromagnet.css Division of ESA ESTEC. His working areas included modeling of the surface emissivity of snow, ice and vegetation for microwave radiometry for MIRAS and MIMR, synergy of PMR and Scatterometer, and surface atmosphere interactions. He started at ESA in 1991, when he received a Research Fellowship from ESA's Research and Technology Centre, during which he was involved in modeling and measurements of soil moisture related to SAR campaigns (e.g. MAC'91, ERS/JERS'93). He received his Dipl.-Ing. and Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from the University of Bochum in 1985 and 1993. He worked as a Integrated Circuit Designer in 1985 with SIEMENS in Munich, Germany and returned to the Institute for Radiofrequency at the University of Bochum as a Research Assistant from 1986 - 1990. His research involved frequency selective antenna reflector modeling, antenna measurements and microwave remote sensing of natural targets.

Prof Abhay Karandikarl, Frugal 5G, India

Mikael Halen, Ericsson, Sweden

Michael Armitage, Broadway Partners, UK. Mr. Michael Robert Armitage serves as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Broadway Partners Ltd. Mr. Armitage has worked in the telecoms industry since joining BT as a graduate trainee in 1980. He was a Research Analyst at Arden Partners plc., Research Division. Previously, he was employed at Blue Oar Securities Plc, Research Division and Charles Stanley & Co. Ltd., Research Division. Prior to that, Mr. Armitage served as Head of Equity Research at RFC Ambrian Limited since July 2006. Previously, he served as Managing Director and Research Analyst at Morgan Stanley, Research Division. Mr. Armitage spent 15 years at the firm and was a founder member of the Equity Research department, where he headed the European and Global Telecoms Research Team. He also served as Head of Global Telecoms Strategy. Prior to that, Mr. Armitage served as Head of the UK Electronics Research team at James Capel and an electronics analyst at Laing and Cruickshank. He has been involved in the telecommunications industry for more than 26 years. Mr. Armitage holds an Honours degree in English from Reading University and an M.Sc. (Sloan) from the London Business School.