The African Telecommunications Union (ATU) in partnership with Ericsson has finalized the development of Spectrum recommendations for African countries. These recommendations will pave way for the prospect of enhanced usage of mobile services, wireless connectivity and deployment of newer technologies in the continent.

The draft recommendations were endorsed in an event attended by 25 African countries and representatives from the Regional Economic blocks. Through the recommendations, the ATU-Ericsson partnership hopes to guide African countries in the management of spectrum. It will support proper licensing, audit and evolution. Spectrum is the invisible radio frequency that makes it possible for wireless signal to travel. It is usually grouped in bands depending on their wavelengths and allocated to the mobile industry and other sectors for communication over the airwaves.

Speaking during the validation forum, the ATU Secretary General Mr. John Omo said, “Radio spectrum is a natural, scarce and valuable resource that is currently being used for a wide range of applications, providing many economic and social benefits in the continent. As demand for spectrum continues to grow, regulators must work to meet the pressure that comes with managing the use of spectrum resources.”

The recommendations via the ATU-Ericsson partnership provide a way for regulators to overcome the spectrum shortage through adoption of appropriate spectrum policies.

With mobile penetration in Africa at about 49%, a significant connectivity gap exists. The demand for access to new technological innovations and state of the art technologies is also on the rise. Spectrum management has thus been prioritized as an important aspect that will ensure the effective use of the limited resource. It is hoped that the recommendations will assist countries undertake these essential endeavors better.

“Spectrum licensing frameworks are a critical component of maximizing the use of spectrum resources to ensure that they enhance and expand the capacity and coverage of mobile and broadband networks for the benefit of end-users as well as to help in bridging the digital divide,” said Dr. Mohamed El-Moghazi, Chairman of the task group.

The recommendations were developed via a dedicated ATU task group under the leadership of Dr. Mohamed El-Moghazi from Egypt and Mr. Dick Sono from South Africa. Mr. Alfred Joseph Bogere from Uganda, Mr. Gabriel Koffi from Cote d’Ivoire and Mr. Wilson Bokatola from Congo served as rapporteurs for the task group.