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North Macedonia Hosts the Third International Telecommunications Conference BalkanCom 2019

Skopje, June 10th, 2019

The third international telecommunications conference was officially opened in Skopje. This year, the three-day conference discusses the topic "5G and Beyond", as a herald of the technology that would mark the next decade. Initiated by a group of eminent scientists, the conference has developed into a gathering of relevant researchers and aims to bring the technology momentum closer and to reduce the information gap between the developed countries and the Balkan region.

The conference is a global scientific platform wherein relevant researches from the academy, research laboratories and the industry will discuss challenges and potential solutions for the current 5G technologies. Renowned lecturers have been invited to attend this year's gathering. Moreover, the gathering includes an intriguing panel discussion, and it also provides an oportunity for students to be actively involved in elaboration of concepts for future telecommunication systems and solutions.

According to Liljana Gavrilovska, Ph.D. and professor at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technologies, the conference's topic "5G and Beyond" reflects the global intensive development of information and communication technologies and the continuous demands for faster, more powerful and more sophisticated communication solutions. The 5G technology will provide grounds for innovative development and growth in many domains of our everyday life and will make intense changes in the manner of operation and communication.

"I wish to note that this year's conference is dedicated to initiation and establishment of a 'Balkan Without Borders' spirit, so to support and strenghten free transfer of knowledge in the region and beyond, and to also encourage and provide opportunities for talented young people and scientists from the region to attain more intensive cooperation and international recognition", said Professor Gavrilovska.

The Minister of Information Society and Administration, Damjan Manchevski, marked the official start of the conference, and in his opening remarks he stressed the change and the global digitalization deriving from 5G technology.

"Technology is expected to swiftly bring about true digital evolution and to boost economic growth, innovation and wellbeing. 5G will change entire industries. These sectors will be completely transformed into digital highways for communication, computer power and sensor networks. Automatization will largely depend on functional and secure 5G networks. Individuals and machines will communicate and share information in a manner unknown thus far. There would be few human activities, which is not supported by cyber-infrastructure", underlined Minister Manchevski.

He also focused on activities and policies of the Government and of MISA implemented in the field of digitalization.

"The Government is well aware that 5G revolution cannot happen over night, but it is an important step towards increase in presence of digital economy in our national GDP. In early 2019, the Government adopted the National Operational Broadband Plan, aligned with EU's strategic goals.The 5G Development Plan is an integral part of this strategic document. Implementation of 5G in the Republic of North Macedonia should provide a national wireless connection ecosystem that would focus on significant increase in the quality of user experience, in the context of significant expansion of the number of offered services and improvements in the overall quality of life. Based on utilization of public funds and investments of operators in the following 3 years, estimates indicate that, by late 2023,at least one city would be covered by 5G signal, and by late 2027 all cities in the country would be covered by uninterupted 5G signal. Moreover, by late 2029 each citizen would have access to 5G internet at minimum speed of 100Mbps", informed Minister Manchevski.

A partner of the conference is Makedonski Telekom, a leading company of digitalization in Macedonian society. At the opening conference, Nikola Ljushev, Chief Executive Officer of Makedonski Telekom, highlighted commitments of the company to trace the path towards new revolutionary technology in the country.

"5G technology, that would act as grounds of the fourth industrial revolution, would inevitably mean new investment cycle and construction of new network infrastructure for telecom operators - the largest challenge in achivement of the transition toward robotization, artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, large number of smart sensors etc. - could be attained if all stakeholders in society act jointly and in coordination. That is the only manner to create a sustainable ecosystem that would provide new values, increased productivity and cost-efficiency. In cooperation with the academic communicty, we will investigate and deepen opportunities for utilization of 5G. Moreover, we expect responsible institutions to be generators of policies that would bring about accelerated digitalization of society, as well as development of communication and information technologies. The world is changing at a global level and the responsibility to place technology and innovation at the service of citizens and the entire society lies in all of us, as creators of the new digital society", stressed Nikola Ljushev.

The first conference of this kind was held in 2017 in Albania, whereas Montenegro hosted last year's conference.

Ministry of Information Society and Administration