African countries and telecommunications stakeholders have today launched the first set of ATU spectrum recommendations that focus on transforming Africa into a knowledge economy through the development of technologies that boost connectivity and innovation.
The spectrum recommendations are as a result of a Memorandum of Understanding signed between Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) and ATU to help fast-track the roll out of technology across the continent.
In Africa today, 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.
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, 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 born MENDOMO AWOUMVELE Minette who officiated the launch event where she 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 percent.
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 went ahead to reiterate the importance of spectrum management strategies highlighted in the recommendations saying that they can be considered as 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.
About the African Telecommunications Union (ATU)
The African Telecommunications Union (ATU) was founded in 1977 as a specialized agency of the Organization of African Unity, now African Union, in the field of telecommunications with Member States as its membership. ATU took its present name in 1999 via a transformation which in part saw the incorporation of the private sector into its membership as associate members.
ATU provides a forum for stakeholders involved in ICT to formulate effective policies and strategies aimed at improving access to information infrastructure and services. In addition, the Union represents the interests of its members at global decision-making conferences and promotes initiatives aimed at integrating regional markets, attracting investment into ICT infrastructure, and building institutional and human capacity. The mission of the Union is to accelerate the development of the telecommunications/ICTs in Africa in order to achieve digital economies. The Union envisions an Africa that is empowered as an inclusive information society with strong digital economies for sustainable social, economic and environmental development in Africa.
ATU currently has 48 Member States drawn from Governments and 54 Associate Members from within and outside the African region.
Ericsson enables communications service providers to capture the full value of connectivity. The company’s portfolio spans Networks, Digital Services, Managed Services, and Emerging Business and is designed to help our customers go digital, increase efficiency and find new revenue streams. Ericsson’s investments in innovation have delivered the benefits of telephony and mobile broadband to billions of people around the world. The Ericsson stock is listed on Nasdaq Stockholm and on Nasdaq New York. www.ericsson.com