According to the Director, Spectrum and Public Policy Africa, Groupe Speciale Mobile Association (GSMA) Mortimer Hope that Africa has an unusual opportunity to secure the mobile Internet future.
He stated this while speaking on the African Telecommunications Union’s third preparatory meeting for the ITU’s World Radio Communication Conference 2015, WRC-15, noting that “At WRC-15 in November 2015, decisions on spectrum allocation made will define mobile connectivity well into the next decade.
According to him, “Exponential growth in the use of mobile phones, tablets and other wireless devices accessing the Internet is putting intense pressure on existing spectrum allocations in Africa” and that “unless governments choose to grant mobile operators access to sufficient spectrum, countries across the continent will miss out on the substantial socioeconomic benefits that mobile broadband delivers.”
He said: “It is therefore critical that governments and regulators take the opportunity that WRC-15 provides to take strategic and decisive action on spectrum allocation that will safeguard the future of mobile broadband in Africa. Policymakers need to act urgently to deliver all the undoubted advantages that the mobile internet provides to citizens throughout the continent.”
At the ATU preparatory meeting this week, the GSMA published the findings of a new report developed by Frontier Economics, which has highlighted the substantial economic benefits of reallocating C-band spectrum, which is mainly used for delivery of satellite services in Africa, to mobile. According to the report, access to C-band spectrum for mobile services will decrease marginal costs for mobile operators, leading to lower prices for mobile broadband in Africa. For example: Nigeria’s benefits range from US $2.2 billion to US $4.6 billion (57 times the cost of migrating existing services) while Africa’s benefits stand at US $511 million to US $1.1 billion (13 times the cost of migrating existing services).
In addition, the total estimated revenue to African governments through mobile industry taxation and the auction of spectrum licences is approximately US $13 billion.
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