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Call for favourable spectrum policies in Africa

from ARMANDO DOMINGOS in Maputo, Mozambique
MAPUTO – INDUSTRY executives have called for more favourable industrial spectrum policies in Africa in order to take full advantage of the Sub3-Ghz band.

It is the primary band for 4G.

The call has been made at the annual Africa Spectrum Roundtable, one of the continent’s most important spectrum events, which took place in Mozambique.

The event in the capital, Maputo, brought together regulators, operators and spectrum industry leaders from all over the continent.

Jacob Munodawafa, Executive Secretary of the Southern Africa Telecommunications Association (SATA) gave an overview of the key spectrum opportunities and challenges for lobbying investment and improving mobile service levels.

He also spoke about what SATA believes should be the spectrum short, medium and long term targets for the region.

Munodawafa encouraged stakeholders to look at the best way forward for the delivery of a spectrum strategy that works for Africa.

Yang Hongjie, Vice President of Huawei Sub-Saharan Africa ICT solution department, delivered a presentation titled, “The unique potentials of Sub-3GHz to meet the realistic demand in the Africa region.”

He outlined Huawei’s latest spectrum concepts and unpacked successful digital transformation spectrum solutions.

“We experienced strong demand growth to improve the last-mile broadband infrastructure which bridges the digital divide between urban and rural areas. Sub-3GHz spectrum’s full utilisation will be the best way forward,” Hongjie added.

“As Africa’s digital ship sails into the future, it will require a strong tailwind to propel it forward,” said Hongjie, who thus called for favourable policies on spectrum.

Dick Sono, Chief Director: Radio Frequency Spectrum from South Africa’s Ministry of Communications and Digital Technologies, shared the department’s best practice under the theme, “Mapping the potential evolution of the Sub-3GHz band in the Africa region.”

Sono detailed South Africa’s achievements in the country’s progress towards the contribution of spectrum allocation to society for affordable, universal 4G mobile broadband and 4G FWA home broadband.

Coverage for the South African population has improved, reaching over 98 percent with the full allocation of Long Term Evolution Frequency Division Duplex (LTE FDD) mid and low-band coverage, and boosting TDD band to uplift home broadband rates for households where there is no access to fibre.

Regulation experts from Mozambique also shared successful case studies which have contributed to the country’s ICT development.

Lui-S Cumaio of the National Institute of Communications (INCM) said there was pressing demand for spectrum in Sub-3GHz.

Currently there is only universal coverage with low band spectrum.

INCM encourages operators to use 2.6 GHz as the dedicated spectrum with the most cost-effective 4G FWA for HBB service because of the low home broadband penetration rate in Mozambique.

Following the discussion, an agreement on a common initiative was released, which includes full allocation of FDD Sub-3Ghz, full utilisation of 2.3/2.6G TDD Band, Adoption of defragmentation practices as well as overall development of 4G/5G FWA and tax incentives and rebates.

– CAJ News

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