Inclusive development and digital transformation in Africa

October 19th, 2016|0 Comments

Inclusive development and digital transformation in Africa RIA Executive Director, Prof. Alison Gillwald, addressed delegates at the 5th Meeting of the African Internet Governance Forum, AfIGF 2016, on the challenges of evidence–based policy formulation and safeguarding public interest outcomes in increasingly globalised and complex environment. Prof.  Gillwald's presentation 'Inclusive development & digital transformation in Africa' may be viewed here.

Government’s spectrum plan is unworkable

October 17th, 2016|0 Comments

Government’s spectrum plan is unworkable Wireless open-access networks as proposed in the new policy have not yet been implemented successfully anywhere in the world The recently released national integrated ICT policy white paper mandates an open-access, wholesale wireless network with exclusive rights to high-demand spectrum.This is intended to break the stranglehold of the dominant mobile cellular operators and allow for the entry of new players into the telecommunications market. Government also intends to recall all spectrum previously awarded to [...]

Debating Spectrum 2.0 for Africa

April 15th, 2015|0 Comments

Debating Spectrum 2.0 for Africa In Africa wireless networks, mostly offering mobile services, have emerged as the primary form of voice, and now data, communications. While wireless network developed as complementary, mobile services to fixed services initially for voice but also for high speed always on Internet services, in Africa increasing numbers of people are accessing the Internet for the first time on their mobile phones, as they did voice. Outside of the corporate environment even high-end users, using more [...]

A look at spectrum in four African countries

March 31st, 2014|0 Comments

A look at spectrum in four African countries Does effective spectrum management make a real difference when it comes to more pervasive and affordable access to communication?  In this post I look at the spectrum management regimes in four African countries: Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, and South Africa, and try to draw some conclusions. One of the challenges in comparing access in these countries is simply recognising how different they are from each other.  Nigeria is three times more populous than [...]

Spectrum and the paradox of the ITU

March 20th, 2014|0 Comments

Spectrum and the paradox of the ITU This entry is part 5 of 6 in the series Africa and Spectrum 2.0 The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) is a paradox.  It is simultaneously an enabler and an obstacle to progress when it comes to radio spectrum. Formed in the late 19th century, one of the ITU’s key roles over time has been a seemingly simple one, to ensure that users of radio spectrum don’t interfere with each other in harmful ways.  The [...]

Africa’s LTE Future

January 17th, 2014|0 Comments

Africa's LTE Future This entry is part 4 of 6 in the series Africa and Spectrum 2.0 If you follow communication infrastructure in Africa, you would be forgiven if you have begun to think of LTE as the promised land. There is no doubt that mobile networks have transformed access on the continent.  Now, we are apparently just waiting for the roll-out of LTE to complete the revolution and provide high-speed broadband to all. This article looks at how LTE is [...]

Spectrum Auctions for Beginners

December 3rd, 2013|0 Comments

Spectrum Auctions for Beginners In the previous article, I looked at the merits of licensed vs. unlicensed spectrum and suggested that there might be scope for some new approaches. Here we’re going to deal with licensed spectrum and the process of auctioning spectrum which has become the dominant means of assigning popular licensed spectrum frequencies. Spectrum auctions are now generally accepted as a “best practice” for assigning spectrum where demand exceeds availability. When spectrum was plentiful, administrative assignment seemed to [...]

Spectrum — To License or Not To License

October 25th, 2013|0 Comments

Spectrum — To License or Not To License Exclusive-Use Spectrum Licenses Exclusive licensing of spectrum is the model that has underpinned the success story of mobile telephony around the world.  Under this model operators are given access to large chunks of spectrum often on a national basis. Licenses are long-term, typically 15 years, and are renewable.  The long period of the license and the exclusivity of use are the hallmarks of this model.  The advantage of this approach is [...]

Why Can’t Anyone Agree on Spectrum?

August 1st, 2013|0 Comments

Why Can’t Anyone Agree on Spectrum? By Steve Song. This entry is part 1 of 6 in the series Africa and Spectrum 2.0. Electromagnetic spectrum is the crude oil of last-mile connectivity, especially in Africa where more traditional kinds of last-mile communication infrastructure are not especially well-developed. As in the oil business, anyone who has gained control of spectrum in the last ten to twenty years has made a great deal of money. But unlike oil, spectrum is something that is [...]

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