Ericsson, ATU ink spectrum recommendations agreement
Ericsson and the African Telecommunications Union (ATU) have committed to a MoU governing the rollout of spectrum recommendations to transform Africa into a knowledge economy.
The recommendations are designed to help fast-track the development and application of technologies that boost connectivity and innovation.
According to the company and organisation, in Africa, a limited amount of spectrum is allocated to the mobile industry as well as other sectors of communication to facilitate the transmission of wireless signals.
“The launched spectrum recommendations outline the importance of awarding the radio spectrum in countries across Africa in a timely, predictable and cost-effective fashion so as to support affordable, high-quality delivery of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) services and spur smart technology initiatives. The recommendations also establish the idea that licensing should be technology-neutral and allow for service innovations,” reads an excerpt from the statement.
Stakeholders add that the new spectrum recommendations further encourage African countries to enable spectrum sharing by giving licensees the right to share their spectrum voluntarily through various means such as trading and national roaming agreements.
“Additionally, African countries through the recommendations, are urged to adopt a licensing approach aimed at promoting the right mix of low, mid and high radio band spectrum to ensure that all communications service providers (CSPs) have access to spectrum amounts and type that allows for the development of a variety of use cases and caters to enterprise and customer demands.”
Speaking during the launch ceremony, ATU Secretary General John Omo said, “The launch of these recommendations is a joint effort aimed at expediting the rollout of ICT driven technologies for the development of digital economies in Africa.”
The Minister of Posts and Telecommunications of Cameroon, Minette Libom Li Likeng affirmed that the new measures compliment African countries’ continued growth in mobile broadband.
The recommendations come at a time when Africa is looking to harness ICT driven innovation, with a rapid rise in usage of technology and smartphones. The November 2020 Ericsson Mobility Report projects that by 2026, mobile broadband subscriptions in Sub-Saharan Africa will increase to up to 76%.
Fadi Pharaon, President of Ericsson Middle East Africa, said, "Fostering agility and innovation from next generation ICT infrastructure is important for Africa’s growth and sustainability.”
He also reiterated the importance of spectrum management strategies highlighted in the recommendations saying that they can be considered as opportunities to accelerate Africa’s digitalisation and set #AfricaInMotion.
Following the launch of the recommendations, ATU will work with countries and all the stakeholders across the continent to support the implementation process.
The aim is for African countries to release the recommended spectrum and license it to the national telecommunications operators in a cost-effective manner. This would enable CSPs to serve the demands of increasing communication needs and prepare them to deliver new technologies such as 5G, which look to revolutionise industries, enterprise, and consumers alike.
ITWeb reported that according to the findings of the Socio-Economic Impact Assessment (SEIA) paper on South Africa’s ICT and spectrum policy, regulatory flaws in the country’s spectrum auction process will result in alienation of mobile network operators, MTN and Vodacom.
The paper was commissioned by the Free Market Foundation (FMF) and conducted by ICT consulting firm dotadvisors.