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Digitalisation Is A Priority

No Development Without Digitalisation

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Article authored by Zoran Ðorđević Director of Public Enterprise Post of Serbia

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The global pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus has changed the world in which we live, and it has also changed us.

While it has proved disastrous for some areas of life, such as tourism and hospitality, it has had a positive effect on others. COVID- 19 has, among other things, led to an expansion of E-commerce, digitalisation and telecommunications, spheres that will continue developing rapidly even when we leave this disease behind us

All settlements in Serbia will get a network by 2025

“Digitalisation and the development of new generation networks are just as crucial to economic and social development as the raising of the level of digital skills is essential to addressing the future challenges of the labour market and the economy in general. Digitalisation is a priority of the Government of Serbia, which is why we launched the project to construct broadband infrastructure in rural areas where operators have no commercial interest in doing so,” said Minister of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications Tatjana Matić, before noting that the aim is for all settlements in Serbia to get a network by 2025.

Ambassador Jan Braathu, Head of the OSCE Mission to Serbia, confirmed that broadband infrastructure and 5G technology are the future, and that the OSCE Mission is working intensively in these fields, together with the implementing of projects to develop digital literacy and digital skills.

Ever more girls enrolling in it studies in Serbia

“The greater inclusion of girls and young ladies in technological domains is essential for combating the digital gender gap, but also for economic growth in the digital future,” said Serbian Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications Minister Tatjana Matić, speaking on the occasion of International Girls in ICT Day.

Speaking during the formal opening ceremony for Hack#teen, a competition in developing technological solutions for girls of primary school age, Minister Matić stated that the percentage of girls enrolling in IT studies in our country increased from 25.7% in 2016 to 29.3% in 2020. Although Serbia is recording a higher participation of girls in ICT education than the European average, it is still necessary to continue working on overcoming prejudices that view this area as primarily a male field and to encourage girls to develop their interests and talents in the direction of professions that are not only the most sougth-after, but also the best paid.

Investing In Network Development Will Rejuvenate Rural Areas

Serbian Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications Minister Tatjana Matić and A1 Telekom Austria Group COO Alejandro Plater have discussed the importance of developing networks in the Republic of Serbia and investing in ICT. During the talks, Minister Matić stressed the importance of the Project to Construct Broadband Infrastructure in Rural Areas, which will impact on the overall economic growth of underdeveloped parts of the country. The Minister also reiterated that the implementation of the first phase of the project will secure ultra-fast broadband access for about 500 settlements, or approximately 80,000 households in rural areas. Matić expressed her expectation that works on the networks will begin in September this year and be completed by September 2022.

COO Plater agreed that digitalisation and technological development are crucial, especially the development of infrastructure in rural areas, including investments in the network that his company is interested in making.

Tourism And E-business Projects Considered

Serbian Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications Minister Tatjana Matić, NALED Executive Director Violeta Jovanović, and Post of Serbia Executive Director Nebojša Marković have held discussions on projects in the field of tourism and e-business.

Speaking on this occasion, Minister Matić announced the formation of the Council for the Development and Recovery of Tourism, while the meeting also included discussion of the importance of implementing the Law on Electronic Document, Electronic Identification and Trust Services in Electronic Business. Consideration was also given to the solution for issuing qualified electronic certificates for the signatures of foreign citizens, but also for domestic citizens who are resident abroad and are unable to come to Serbia or use available electronic services.

Serbia Hasn’t Abandoned 5g Network Introduction

The auction for operators for the introduction of the 5G network was postponed due to the pandemic and is expected to be conducted by the end of next year. Preparations are still continuing, because – according to the Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications – it is necessary to adopt regulations on the use of the spectrum on a certain frequency and appropriate regulations. Interest in the auction among operators already exists, as there is interest from industry.

It is interesting to note that the 5G network is primarily intended for industry, unlike the 4G network, which is used by consumers of mobile content.

The 5G network will be used the most by the the automotive industry, agriculture and medicine, which already use 5G networks around the world. However, following the global economic crisis caused by the pandemic, the scale of which is not even perceptible, the industry withdrew from conducting assessments of whether investments in equipment for the 5G network are economically justified.

Serbian Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications Minister Tatjana Matić expressed hope that the circumstances will be different during the course of 2021 and that the market around the whole world will stabilise.

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