The Communications Regulatory Authority (CRA) of Qatar has issued an updated version of the Class License for camel-racing equipment, streamlining the approval process for its installation, operation and use ahead of the racing season in Qatar. Under this Class License, there are no license or spectrum fees. The Class License allows anyone to possess, install and operate camel-racing equipment without having to apply for a license, provided they comply with the terms and conditions of the Class License, operate the device within the authorized frequency bands and ensure that the equipment is type-approved by the CRA. Type approval is restricted to handheld devices with low power transmission used by the camel owners and to earpieces installed on the camels enabling one-way communication to control the speed movement of the animal during various stages of the race.
We have commented from time to time on the huge proliferation of M2M communications around the world and on the wide range of functionalities and industries in which it is being applied. It is not widely known, we believe, outside the Gulf States, that human jockeys have largely been removed from camel-racing for humanitarian reasons (most of them were children) and have been replaced by robotic jockeys and other mechanical solutions, which are all remotely controlled by M2M. The Qatari regulator’s decision to streamline and open up the approval process for camel-racing mobile technology will help strengthen this arrangement and make sure that the human-rights abuses of the old system do not return. Whether mobile operators can get a piece of this racing action is, at this point, not clear, but perhaps the remote control process could go through mobile phones rather than through dedicated handhelds.