5th Mena Spectrum Management Conference

Event Overview

The Sub-Sahara Spectrum Management Conference has gone virtual!

Taking place across a series of individual sessions from 14 – 17 September, the conference will provide an online platform for stakeholders to come together and discuss topical issues relating to the management and coordination of spectrum policy across the region.

Held using an interactive virtual event system, sessions will go far beyond the standard webinar. Attendees will have the opportunity to get involved and engage through interactive sessions, one-to-one and group networking, technology demonstrations, a virtual exhibition area and much, much more…

Sessions will include a focus on issues such as  review of WRC-19 and the path towards WRC-23; A focus on the C-Band; Managing Spectrum in times of crisis; Building a co-ordinated strategy towards universal access – funding and technology options; Maximising the potential of the UHF band for all users; Roadmaps for 5G implementation across Sub-Saharan Africa; and priorities for regulators in bringing spectrum to market.

The conference is part of The Global Spectrum Series. The world’s largest collection of regional spectrum policy conferences.

Registration is now open and FREE OF CHARGE for all attendees

Organisers & Partners

Event Organiser
Forum Global
Forum Global specializes in policy focused conferences and events, providing a platform for discussion and debate on topical issues across a variety of different sectors. These events are organized with clients and partners and aim to progress ideas and actions on important issues, all within a balanced and neutral setting.Forum Global is the international arm of Forum Europe, which was founded by Giles Merritt, columnist for the International Herald Tribune, and is widely recognized as the leading EU dedicated event provider.Headed by a team of events specialists with over 19 years of experience, Forum Global works successfully with businesses, institutions and governments alike. Its strategic services can maintain and develop your key policy networks, and also deliver forums where key issues can be aired and debated.
Supported by
ITU is the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies – ICTs.We allocate global radio spectrum and satellite orbits, develop the technical standards that ensure networks and technologies seamlessly interconnect, and strive to improve access to ICTs to underserved communities worldwide.ITU is committed to connecting all the world's people – wherever they live and whatever their means. Through our work, we protect and support everyone's fundamental right to communicate.
Event Partner
Broadcast Networks Europe is dedicated to maintaining an efficient and fair regulatory and operational environment for Terrestrial Broadcast Network Operators with a view to ensuring European citizens continue having universal access to a broad range of TV and radio programs and content as well as other over-the-air services.
Event Partner
Coleago Consulting
Coleago profile for conference website Founded in 2001, Coleago is a specialist telecoms management consulting firm. Our expertise has been developed exclusively within the telecoms sector and delivers a rare combination of telecoms-related commercial and technical skills and experience. Since 2001 we have worked on over 110 spectrum related projects in developed and emerging markets. Since 2017 our spectrum projects included the transition to 5G, including valuating spectrum most relevant for 5G such as 600MHz, 700MHz, 3.5GHz, and mm wave. We advise regulators on spectrum policy, spectrum roadmap, spectrum pricing, spectrum auctions and capacity building on the topic best practice in spectrum auctions. For mobile operators Coleago delivers regulatory advocacy and responses to consultation, spectrum valuation, bid strategy development and live auction support. Coleago also authored complete bid books for spectrum licence awards by means of a beauty contest. For further information, please visit www.coleago.com
Event Partner
Ericsson is a world-leading provider of telecommunications equipment and related services to mobile and fixed network operators globally. Over 1,000 networks in more than 180 countries utilize our network equipment and 40 percent of all mobile calls are made through our systems. We are one of the few companies worldwide that can offer end-to-end solutions for all major mobile communication standards. Communication is changing the way we live and work. Ericsson plays a key role in this evolution, using innovation to empower people, business and society. We provide communications networks, telecom services and multimedia solutions, making it easier for people all over the globe to communicate.
Event Partner
ESOA is a non-profit organisation established with the objective of serving and promoting the common interests of satellite operators from Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the CIS. The Association today represents the interests of 21 satellite operators who deliver information communication services across the globe. Together ESOA Members provide invaluable communications services to the whole world including emergency communications, live broadcasting, maritime and aero communications, secure services for governments, 24-7 monitoring of industrial processes such as energy plants and a whole range of other communications capabilities that society has come to rely on.
Event Partner
Huawei is a leading global information and communications technology (ICT) solutions provider. Through our dedication to customer-centric innovation and strong partnerships, we have established end-to-end advantages in telecom networks, devices and cloud computing. We are committed to creating maximum value for telecom operators, enterprises and consumers by providing competitive solutions and services. Our products and solutions have been deployed in over 140 countries, serving more than one third of the world’s population.
Event Partner
Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) is a world leader in computing innovation. The company designs and builds the essential technologies that serve as the foundation for the world's computing devices. Intel expands the boundaries of technology to make the most amazing experiences possible. Additional information about Intel is available at intel.com
Event Partner
GSA (the Global mobile Suppliers Association) is a not-for-profit industry organisation representing companies across the worldwide mobile ecosystem engaged in the supply of infrastructure, semiconductors, test equipment, devices, applications and mobile support services. GSA actively promotes the 3GPP technology road-map – 3G; 4G; 5G, – and is a single source of information resource for industry reports and market intelligence. GSA Members drive the GSA agenda and define the communications and development strategy for the Association. The GSA Spectrum Group develops strategies and plans, and contributes studies and technical analysis to international, regional and individual country policy-makers and regulators to facilitate the timely availability of spectrum for use by mobile network operators.
Event Partner
The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting nearly 800 operators with more than 250 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and Internet companies, as well as organisations in adjacent industry sectors. The GSMA also produces industry-leading events such as Mobile World Congress, Mobile World Congress Shanghai and the Mobile 360 Series conferences.
Knowledge partner
Aetha Consulting provides strategic advice to the telecommunications industry and specialises in undertaking rigorous data-driven quantitative assessments to help businesses, regulators and policy makers make major strategic and regulatory decisions. We work with our clients to develop creative and sustainable solutions to the challenges facing them in a constantly changing environment. Aetha helps operators and regulators to analyse the opportunities and threats arising out of changes (whether real or proposed) in their radio spectrum holdings. Throughout the recent unprecedented growth of wireless services, Aetha's staff have been at the forefront of spectrum policy. Our consultants have assisted regulators to award spectrum and develop regulatory frameworks, including supporting the European Commission to tackle issues such as spectrum trading and the digital dividend.We also support operators to understand their spectrum needs, value spectrum and bid in auctions. Each year we support 10-15 bidders in spectrum auctions - a total of over 80 award processes between mid-2011 and 2017 across all regions of the world. Our technical knowledge, combined with our rigorous valuation modelling approach, ensures that our clients are comprehensively prepared for auctions.
Knowledge Partner
NERA Economic Consulting is a global firm of experts dedicated to applying economic, finance, and quantitative principles to complex business and legal challenges. For half a century, NERA’s economists have been creating strategies, studies, reports, expert testimony, and policy recommendations for government authorities and the world’s leading law firms and corporations. We bring academic rigor, objectivity, and real world industry experience to bear on issues arising from competition, regulation, public policy, strategy, finance, and litigation. NERA’s clients value our ability to apply and communicate state-of-the-art approaches clearly and convincingly, our commitment to deliver unbiased findings, and our reputation for quality and independence. Our clients rely on the integrity and skills of our unparalleled team of economists and other experts backed by the resources and reliability of one of the world’s largest economic consultancies. With its main office in New York City, NERA serves clients from more than 25 offices across North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific.

Previous speakers include:

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Andrew Rugege

Regional Director for Africa, ITU

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Ben Ba

Head of Terrestrial Publication & Registration Division, Radiocommunication Bureau , ITU

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Kezias Mwale

Radiocommunications Coordinator, ATU

Souhila Amazouz Picture- 2

Souhila Amazouz

Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, African Union Commission (AUC)

Elizabeth 200

Elizabeth Migwalla

Senior Director of Government Affairs, Africa, Qualcomm


All times listed below are in  Central Africa Time Zone (UTC + 2)

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
14:00 - 14:45
Welcome and Keynotes: Delivering a forward looking spectrum strategy for Africa
14:45 - 15:15
‘Make your introductions’ discovery and networking session

An opportunity to find out what’s happening in the exhibition and breakout areas over the course of the week, and to explore the platform and the networking area!

15:15 - 16:00
Fireside Chat: Looking back – A Review of WRC-19

WRC-19 took place in Egypt at the end of 2019, delivering key decisions and directions on spectrum policy for the next four years and beyond. Now that the dust has settled, the general consensus from most stakeholders seems to be that overall a fair balance was reached, and also that overall, it was a successful conference for the African delegation and the Sub-Sahara region. This session will provide the opportunity to look back at the processes and outcomes of WRC-19 and the key takeaways for the Sub-Saharan region.


  • What were the most important outcomes and takeaways from WRC-19 for the Sub-Sahara region?
  • How influential was the African regional ‘voice’ at WRC-19, and how successful can the conference considered to have been for the region? What now needs to be done to continue this strong, co-ordinated approach moving forward?
  • What new bands were identified for IMT at WRC-19 and what are now the next steps in order to ensure they are made available as quickly and efficiently as possible?
16:00 - 16:45
Showcase Sessions 1
10:30 - 12:00
The next steps: Starting on the path towards WRC-23

We had the opportunity yesterday to look back over the key outcomes and conclusions from WRC-19. This session will now offer us the chance to look forward to the next steps. It will hear from representatives from different industry stakeholder groups on what they now see as their main priorities, opportunities and challenges following the decisions that were taken at WRC-19; and look ahead at the key issues and timetable ahead as the build up to WRC-23 already begins.


  • Following the outcomes of WRC-19, what are now the key priorities, opportunities and challenges for different stakeholder groups?
  • What impact are the decisions that have been taken likely to have on the future shape of connectivity in the low, mid and high frequency bands?
  • What are set to be the most important (and most contentious) issues or agenda items at WRC-23 both for region 1 and globally?
  • To what extent are studies and early preparation for WRC-23 currently being impacted by the situation with Covid-19, and what impact might this have on the longer-term scheduling and planning over the next 4 years?
12:05 - 12:50
Showcase Sessions 2
12:20 - 14:00
14:30 - 15:45
A focus on the C-Band: To what extent is co-existence of spectrum and mobile services a reality in the 3.6GHz – 3.8GHz?

One of the key issues on the agenda for WRC-23 is the future use of the 3.6GHz – 3.8GHz upper C-Band. Around the world, the C-Band is seen by the mobile community as a hugely important frequency for 5G. It is also intensively used for other services however, including the satellite industry, where in Africa, the high resistance to rain fade makes it crucial for services requiring high availability. With the lower (3.4GHz – 3.6GHz) portion of the band now allocated as co-primary for mobile across the region, attention is switching to the 3.6GHz – 3.8GHz portion of the band, with consideration of upgrading mobile services from secondary to primary status in region 1 on the agenda for WRC-23. This session will look specifically at the band, and at the best way forward to meet the needs of all users.


  • With the 3.4GHz – 3.6GHz now allocated as co-primary for mobile across the Sub-Sahara region (and the rest of region 1), what is the situation regarding plans for allocation of spectrum in this band?
  • Given that this portion of the band has already been identified for use for 5G (and in many cases not yet assigned), to what extent is there still a need to find additional spectrum in other areas of the C-band?
  • What specific challenges exist in the Sub-Sahara region when trying to free up spectrum in the 3.6GHz – 3.8GHz band for 5G?
  • To what extent is interference-free co-existence between mobile and satellite in the band possible?
  • With the 3.6GHz-3.8GHz band featuring prominently on the agenda for WRC-23, how are discussions around this frequency likely to progress in region 1 in the period up to 2023 and beyond?
  • How can the needs of the satellite and mobile communities across the C-band be best balanced to ensure that the requirements of both key sectors are met?
15:45 - 16:30

Open and interactive discussion – audience members will have the chance to take the floor and give their thoughts on the discussions that have taken place in today’s panels.

10:30 - 11:15
Fireside Chat: Managing spectrum in times of crisis: tools and techniques to keep societies connected

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic put a huge amount of pressure on communication networks all across the world. The imposed lockdowns and the resulting increase in home-working and use of web streaming and other services significantly increased broadband traffic, as and served to highlight the critical importance of connectivity for business continuity. In developing regions such as Sub-Saharan Africa, where there is very little fixed infrastructure to fall back on, the impact on mobile and wireless connections was even greater than in other areas around the world. This session will look at the work that was done by industry and regulators across Africa and the rest of the world to keep societies connected, and at how access to spectrum was managed to help with this.


  • How did usage across networks rise during the crisis and what impact was seen for the various connectivity providers and stakeholders?
  • What response to this was seen by regulators and industry representatives across different countries, and what spectrum management tools and techniques were utilised as part of this?
  • What was learnt about the best ways to put under-utilised spectrum to use in times of crisis and the potential opportunities to rearrange access to it?
  • Which approaches worked best, and which were less successful? What lessons can be taken from the communication sector’s response to the crisis?
  • Did emergency services ultimately have access to sufficient spectrum to facilitate their response to this global crisis? Was anything learnt about the best way to deliver the reliable, robust connectivity that is required?


10:45 - 12:00
Building a co-ordinated strategy towards universal access: funding and technology options

A recent report from the United Nations Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development estimated that around $100 billion would be needed to achieve universal access to broadband connectivity in Africa by 2030. It also highlighted the necessity of stakeholders to look at innovative approaches and the need to work together in order to extend connectivity to the hardest to reach rural areas. This session will look at the different funding and technology options that can help to reach this target, and at how stakeholders should be working together to achieve this common goal for the benefit of all.


  • What funding options exist to deliver the required investment in network roll out that will help to make the goal of delivering universal access across Africa a reality?
  • What major challenges and hurdles need to be overcome and how can all stakeholders come together to tackle these?
  • What specific challenges are faced when looking at connecting the unconnected in African countries, particularly relating to issues such as the relative shortage of fixed infrastructure, and the geographical scale of the areas that is being covered?
  • What innovate solutions and technologies are available to help deliver the required connectivity, particularly in those most remote areas?
  • How can it be ensured that the right technology mix is put in place in each case to meet the needs of communities and regions throughout the continent?
12:00 - 14:00
14:30 - 15:40
Maximising the potential of the UHF band for all users

The UHF band provides key spectrum for a number of different stakeholders and technologies across Sub-Saharan Africa. The 700Mhz, 800Mhz and 900Mhz bands are all now identified for IMT (although the allocation of ‘digital dividend’ spectrum in the 700 & 800 MHz bands is ongoing across many countries), whilst the sub-700Mhz band is seen as a key for broadcasters across the region. Dynamic spectrum technologies are also using unassigned spectrum (or Television White Spaces) to deliver rural broadband connectivity. With a review of spectrum use and needs across the UHF band on the agenda for WRC-23, this session will take stock and look at how the potential of the band can be maximised for all users. It will frequency band 470-960 MHz in Region 1 and consider possible regulatory actions in the frequency band 470 694 MHz in Region 1 on the basis of the review in accordance with Resolution 235 (WRC 15).


  • What is the current progress with digital migration across the region in the 700MHz and 800MHz bands?
  • What are the barriers that are slowing things down, and how can these be overcome?
  • How can regulators ensure that the spectrum in this band is allocated in a way that allows it to be used as efficiently as possible?
  • How much spectrum UHF spectrum is actually required by mobile operators to meet the coverage requirements of 4G and 5G? How can this be balanced with also meeting the requirements of broadcasters and other incumbent users?
  • With a review of the usage and needs within 470-960 MHz UHF band in Region 1 on the agenda for WRC-23, what work needs to be done in study groups in order to prepare for this?
  • What is the current thinking regarding the short-term and long-term future use of UHF spectrum across Sub-Saharan Africa and beyond?
  • What is the future of the TV whitespace model in the UHF band?
  • To what extent are there possibilities for sharing between IMT and incumbent users of the UHF band, and what challenges are there to this? Would making the frequencies available on a paired (FDD) or an unpaired (TDD) basis make any changes to this?
15:40 - 16:30

Open and interactive discussion – audience members will have the chance to take the floor and give their thoughts on the discussions that have taken place in today’s panels.

10:00 - 11:10
From the Policymakers – “What are your hopes, plans and expectations for 5G?”

Whilst the actual rollout of 5G networks across Africa remains some way in the future, countries all across the region are developing their rollout plans, and building their 5G vision and roadmap. This session will provide a platform for regulators and policymakers from across the region to outline the
hopes and expectations that they have for 5G, and the ways in which they plan to work alongside connectivity providers to deliver this.
All the speakers have been given 10 minutes to address 4 key questions:
• What are the hopes and expectations for 5G in your country?
• What spectrum do you plan to make available to achieve this, and how are you hoping to ensure that this spectrum is allocated in a way that allows it to be used as efficiently as possible?
• How do you hope that connectivity providers use the bandwidth that is made available to ensure that the 5G benefits are maximised?
• How developed is the 5G roadmap in your country, and what timeframe do you expect for 5G rollout?

11:30 - 13:00
Continuing the path towards a harmonized continental 5G strategy

We have learnt in the last session about some of the hopes and plans for 5G of countries across the Sub-Saharan region. This session will now build in this by looking more broadly at the continental strategy to deliver the successful implementation of 5G across the region as a whole. It will examine the work that is being done by the African Union Commission/Africa Telecommunications Union and other stakeholders, and at the progress that has been made since a similar session to this was held at last year’s edition of this conference.


  • What unique challenges and opportunities does 5G offer to Africa, and how should the regional approach be different to that used elsewhere in order to take advantage of these?
  • How important is it that Africa takes a harmonised approach when it comes to roll-out of 5G, and to what extent is a concrete plan beginning to emerge?
  • What lessons can be learnt from the experiences of rolling out 5G networks that have been seen in developed regions?
  • What options are available to regulators when looking to develop licencing frameworks for 5G, and to what extent should local as well as national licencing be considered to ensure the needs of all users in both rural and urban areas are covered?
  • How can it be ensured that 5G does not just become a technology for cities and developed regions in Africa, but also truly serves the development needs of the region as a whole?
  • What benefits can 5G bring to developing areas and low-income consumers, and how can the roll-out of 5G networks be coordinated with continued roll out of 3G and 4G services?
  • To what extent are the decisions at WRC-19 likely to influence and shape the regional approach to delivering 5G in Africa?
  • What mix of technologies and solutions are best going to meet the needs of Africa’s 5G future, and how can it be ensured that both the infrastructure and spectrum is in place to deliver this?
12:20 - 14:00
14:00 - 15:15
Taking stock: where should the priorities lie for regulators in bringing spectrum to market?

A wide range of spectrum bands have now been identified for allocation for IMT in the Sub-Sahara region – 700Mhz, 800MHz, 2.6Ghz, 3.5Ghz, 26GHz and more. In many cases however, the process of actually allocating the available bandwidth has not yet taken place and the spectrum is laying fallow. This has resulted in a backlog of frequencies waiting to be allocated across many countries. This session will look at which bands regulators across the region should be prioritising when looking at making bandwidth available for 3G, 4G and 5G.


  • What is the current situation regarding the allocation and award of the 5G pioneer bands and other bands that have been identified for IMT across Sub Saharan countries?
  • What bands should be prioritised by regulators when looking at key spectrum to make available?
  • What impact has Covid-19 had on spectrum the release of spectrum bands across the region and to what extent have things been delayed?
  • Should countries and operators be focussing on the roll-out of 3G, 4G or 5G services?
  • To what extent is there a need to continue identifying new spectrum bands for IMT, or should the focus now be more on making available the bandwidth that has already been allocated?
  • What tools and mechanisms exist for regulators to ensure that available bandwidth is allocated for mobile broadband as quickly, fairly and efficiently as possible?
15:15 - 16:15
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Event Background

Since its launch in 2015, the Sub Sahara Spectrum Management is now taking place for its fifth time; and has now established a reputation as the leading platform for spectrum policy discussion in the region. With over 300 attendees from up to 50 different countries attending the 2019 edition of this conference.

Event partners ITU, ATU and Forum Global work with national Governments and regulators and industry stakeholders from mobile, satellite, broadcast, public safety, high altitude platforms and more to ensure that their voices are heard.

Previous Event

Taking place in Gaborone, Botswana, in May of 2019, The 4th Sub-Sahara Spectrum Management Conference welcomed over 300 delegates from across the region & beyond, for high-level discussions on preparation for WRC-19, Smart Cities, 5G rollout in Africa, connectivity requirements in the region, PPDR Networks, and much more.

You can view more details of the 2019 edition of this event here.

New Virtual Format

“Virtual events do not have to be passive experiences, limited to only watching presentations and panel discussions. They can be engaging and interactive, enabling face-to-face conversations and the possibility to connect with policymakers and stakeholders.”
As we transition The Sub – Sahara Spectrum Management Conference to a new virtual format, our aim is to provide a platform that replicates the benefits normally enjoyed by attendees at the event when it is held in person and face-to-face.

The format of the event has been designed to not only enable participants to listen to the discussions and debates, but to also have the opportunity to network and engage with speakers, partners and other attendees.

Session will follow an interactive format, and include the following elements

An interactive panel discussion with expert speakers, and the opportunity to ask questions and make comments using a live chat function

A ‘have your say…’ audience engagement session, where all participants will have the opportunity to request to bring their audio and video feed ‘live’ and actively participate in the debate

A virtual networking lounge, with options to take part in one-to-one networking meetings, join private networking rooms and visit the virtual exhibition area

A ‘Showcase’ stage, where speakers and partners will be providing technology demos, hosting interactive Q&A sessions, and taking part in smaller ‘breakout’ sessions on key topics

Event platform

This conference will take places using Forum Europe’s virtual event platform – Forum Vision


For more information on any aspect of this event, please contact James Curtin using any of the details below.

James Curtin
Event Manager
Forum Global


Tel: +44 (0) 2920 783 071