Government’s spectrum plan is unworkable by Alison Gillwald on 17 October 2016

 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 mobile operators.

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A look at spectrum in four African countries by Admin on 01 April 2014

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.

This entry is part 6 of 6 in the series Debating spectrum 2.0 for Africa

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Spectrum and the paradox of the ITU by Admin on 01 April 2014

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) is a paradox.  It is simultaneously an enabler and an obstacle to progress when it comes to radio spectrum.

Given that the demand for spectrum has increased and that globalisation has increased the demand for devices that work anywhere, should we now be providing more resources than ever to the ITU to carry out its critical function of coordination and harmonisation of spectrum regimes?  Yes, and no.

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Africa's LTE Future by Admin on 01 April 2014

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 evolving on the continent from the perspective of spectrum and device manufacturing.

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Spectrum Auctions for Beginners by Admin on 26 February 2014

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.

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Spectrum — To License or Not To License by Admin on 01 April 2014

In part one of this series on Spectrum 2.0, I highlighted just how complex radio spectrum management is and why experts can’t seem to agree on whether we are running out of spectrum or entering an age of abundance.   I finish by saying that the challenge around spectrum management is that still haven’t worked out a very satisfying means of deciding who gets what spectrum and for how long. So let’s look at the two success stories in wireless access: mobile networks and WiFi.  Those are now the two dominant end-user wireless access technologies in the world and they represent two very different models for accessing spectrum:  exclusively licensed versus unlicensed access to spectrum.

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Why Can’t Anyone Agree on Spectrum? by Admin on 01 April 2014

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 much harder to put your finger on.

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Debating Spectrum 2.0 for Africa by Admin on 15 April 2015

Spectrum is the fuel of mobile communications growth in Africa which has opened up the continent over the two decades. Mobile communications has developed quite differently in the global South and in Africa specifically. Unlike more mature communications markets in the North hemisphere where fixed line access and reasonably well established terrestrial backbones and undersea cable connectivity have enabled the massive take up of broadband services, fixed line communications is dwindling or non-existent. The new undersea cables that have connected the continent to the world and the limited backhaul networks that crisscross the continent are instead groaning under the weight of mobile traffic.

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Inclusive development and digital transformation in Africa by Alison Gillwald on 19 October 2016

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.

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