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Africa commits to mobile broadband

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The GSMA has welcomed African support for mobile broadband growth, as the African Telecommunications Union takes an important step ahead of the World Radio Communication Conference (WRC-15) taking place in November.

John Giusti, deputy chief regulatory officer of the GSMA, comments: “The GSMA welcomes the strong decisions that African governments took at this week’s meeting of the ATU to foster the growth of mobile broadband across the continent. By coming together and agreeing unified proposals, they have shown their support for making more spectrum available to meet the mobile broadband needs of their citizens.

“The upcoming WRC-15 conference in Geneva will determine what spectrum bands will be allocated for mobile services. These decisions will determine the future of the mobile internet. This is particularly important for Africa, the world’s fastest growing mobile region, where mobile broadband is often the only way for people to access the internet. Additional spectrum will be vital in providing the capacity needed to support mobile broadband growth across the region and help bridge the digital divide.

“The ATU is a highly influential member of the international community and decisions coming out of Africa are increasingly shaping policy in other regions. The GSMA is, therefore, pleased with the ATU’s decision to support the L-band for mobile. This band has the potential for widespread global support at WRC-15, driving economies of scale that will benefit consumers in Africa and elsewhere.”

Giusti believe there is still work to be done to ensure there is sufficient spectrum allocated for mobile broadband. “Increased support for an allocation in the sub-700MHz UHF band, which offers good geographic coverage, will be essential for connecting rural communities in Africa,” he says.

“There is also a need for higher frequency spectrum to meet the intense urban capacity demands and give city dwellers in Africa access to high-speed mobile broadband. African governments have made progress on recognising this growing need and we encourage final decisions to allocate more spectrum to mobile in these capacity bands, specifically 2.7-2.9GHz and 3.6-3.8GHz.

“This November, we will urge all the governments of Africa to make a clear and strong call for significantly more mobile spectrum to realise the ambitions of a digital economy and to create a truly connected society.”