ATU, Ericsson expand Africa’s ICT space

23 April 2021 | Technology

Namibia joined 45 other African countries and telecommunications stakeholders to launch the first set of African Telecommunications Union (ATU) spectrum recommendations that focus on transforming the continent 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 and ATU to help fast-track the roll out of technology across the continent.
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.

Spectrum sharing
The new spectrum recommendations encourage African countries to enable spectrum sharing by giving licensees the right to share their spectrum voluntarily through 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 at the launch, ATU Secretary General 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.”
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%.
Following the launch of the recommendations, ATU will work with countries and 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.

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