The African Telecommunications Union (ATU) and Ericsson have published a series of recommendations to enable governments and regulators across Africa to accelerate Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and next-generation connectivity. The recommendations focus on transforming Africa into a knowledge economy by developing technologies that boost connectivity and innovation. The spectrum recommendations are an outcome of a Memorandum of Knowledge signed by Ericsson and ATU to help fast-track the rollout of technology across the continent.
Established on December 7th, 1999, the African Telecommunications Union is the leading continental organisation fostering information and communication technologies infrastructure and services. The Union’s mission is to promote the rapid development of info-communications in Africa to achieve universal access and full inter-country connectivity.
Ericsson is a Swedish multinational networking and telecommunications company offering services, software and infrastructure in information and communications technology for telecommunications operators, traditional telecommunications and Internet Protocol (IP) networking equipment, mobile and fixed broadband, operations and business support services, cable television, IPTV, video systems, and an extensive services operation.
The recommendations include:
- Awarding radio spectrum in a timely, predictable and cost-effective fashion to support affordable, high-quality delivery of ICT services and spur smart technology initiatives
- Licensing should be technology-neutral and allow for service innovation
- Countries should enable spectrum sharing by giving licensees the right to share spectrum voluntarily through means such as trading and national roaming agreements
- Countries urged to adopt a licensing approach to promote the right mix of low-, mid-and high-band radio spectrum. This should ensure that all communications service providers (CSPs) have access to spectrum amount and type to support various use cases and enterprise and customer demands.
The launched spectrum recommendations outline the importance of awarding the radio spectrum in countries across Africa in a timely, predictable and cost-effective fashion 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.
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. The recommendations come when Africa is looking to harness ICT driven innovation, with a rapid rise in usage of technology and smartphones.
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, the ATU Secretary-General Mr John OMO reiterated the importance of the recommendations saying, “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.”
Mr John Omo’s sentiments were also shared by the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications of Cameroon, Mrs Libom Li Likeng, who officiated the launch event. She affirmed that the new measures complement African countries’ continued growth in mobile broadband.
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 reiterated the importance of spectrum management strategies highlighted in the recommendations saying that they can be considered opportunities to accelerate Africa’s digitalization 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 the customer service providers (CSPs) to serve the demands of increasing communication needs and prepare them to deliver new technologies such as 5G, which look to revolutionize industries, enterprise, and consumers alike.
The harmonized and globally aligned frameworks as envisaged by ATU and Ericsson will assist African countries in spectrum management activities that will accelerate the cost-efficient rollout of ICT.
For more information regarding the spectrum recommendations, see here.