GSMA tasks Nigeria on mobile broadband future
UNLESS African governments choose to grant mobile operators access to sufficient spectrum, countries across the continent may miss out on the substantial socioeconomic benefits that mobile broadband delivers.
This was the view of the GSM Association (GSMA), the body, which represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting 800 operators with more than 250 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and Internet companies.
Speaking at the African Telecommunications Union’s third preparatory meeting for the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) World Radiocommunication Conference 2015 (WRC-15) in Abuja recently, Director, Spectrum and Public Policy Africa, GSMA, Mortimer Hope said exponential growth in the use of mobile phones, tablets and other wireless devices accessing the Internet is putting pressure on existing spectrum allocations in Nigeria and other part of Africa.
As such, he said it has become highly imperative for Africa to step up efforts towards protecting and promoting mobile broadband spectrum.
“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. olicymakers need to act urgently to deliver all the undoubted advantages that the mobile Internet provides to citizens throughout the continent”, he stated.
Hope noted that a GSMA 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.
Quoting the report, he said 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 instance, the report, while comparing Nigeria and South Africa, disclosed that there is huge economic benefits in Nigeria, which range from $2.2 billion to $4.6 billion (57 times the cost of migrating existing services). In South Africa, the report noted that the economic benefits stand at $511 million to $1.1 billion (13 times the cost of migrating existing services).
In addition, the report also estimated that there could be as much as $13 billion accruing to African governments through mobile industry taxation and the auction of spectrum licences.