17th European Spectrum Management Conference

Event Overview

The 7th Sub-Sahara Spectrum Management Conference will take place in a hybrid format on 3 & 4 November 2022 in Cape Town, South Africa. Registration is now open to attend virtually and in-person. 

You are also able to register your interest to attend an ITU workshop on Spectrum Monitoring taking place on 1-2 November.

The event will gather key stakeholders to discuss topical issues relating to the management and coordination of spectrum policy across the region. During the 2 days attendees will have the opportunity to get involved and engage through interactive sessions, networking opportunities, exhibition area and much more.

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

Key Themes

Spectrum challenges, opportunities and targets for Africa

WRC-23 - progress, challenges and opportunities

Digital switchover and the wider sub-1GHz ecosystem

Key mid-band frequencies - 2.6GHz, C-band, 6GHz

Rural connectivity and the digital divide

Towards a harmonized 5G strategy for Africa

Spectrum pricing and award mechanisms

Organisers & Partners

Supported by

ICASA-Logo-full-colour
africa-telecommunications-unionb
Updated ITU Logo
GSOA
GSOA

Platinum Partners

Forum Global (1)
ATDI logo new
BNE-wp
Coleago
Ericsson
GSMA 2022
GSOA
Huawei website
Intelsat
Nokia
Oneweb
Qualcomm
SES 2021 v1

Silver Partner

APWPT
NERA-wordpress-logo
NERA-wordpress-logo
NERA-wordpress-logo
GSOA
GSOA

Knowledge Partners

Aetha 2021 logo
NERA-wordpress-logo
GSOA
GSOA
GSOA
GSOA

Speakers Include

John Omo

John Omo

Secretary General ATU

Mario Maniewicz

Mario Maniewicz

Director, BR
ITU

Kezias-Mwale

Kezias Mwale

Radiocommunication Coordinator
ATU

RLG-240

Ronel le Grange

Head of Electronic Communications CRAN

Daniel Obam_resized

Daniel Obam

Communications Secretary, National Communications Secretariat, Kenya

Elizabeth Migwalla

Elizabeth Migwalla

Senior Director of Government Affairs for MEA
Qualcomm​

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Mohaned Juwad

Director, Spectrum Strategy, Intelsat

256Dr Bienvenu AGBOKPONTO SOGLO_Headshot_Intel copy

Bienvenu Agbokponto Soglo

Director, Government Affairs, Intel

Scott_McKenzie copy

Scott McKenzie

Director, Coleago Consulting

Nada Abdelhafez

Nada Abdelhafez

Head of Spectrum & Regulatory Affairs, MEA region, Shure (on behalf of APWPT)

Agenda

All times in the agenda are in South Africa Standard Time (SAST)

Day 1
2022-11-03
Day 2
2022-11-04
09:00 - 10:15
Session 1 – Setting the scene – Key spectrum challenges, opportunities and targets for Africa

To help set the scene for the event and identify some concrete aims and objectives, keynote speakers will be asked as part of their presentation to give an overview of what they see as the key spectrum challenges and opportunities for the region; and on what they feel should be the spectrum targets for the region in the short, medium and long term. These presentations will then be followed by an interactive voting session, where both in-person and virtual attendees will be asked to add their thoughts on these 2 questions, before a panel discussion involving key industry and policy voices is held to address the points that have been raised, and to look at the best way forward to deliver a spectrum strategy that works for Africa.

10:15 - 11:20
Session 1 – Panel discussion: Delivering a spectrum strategy that works for Africa
  • What do you see as the key spectrum challenges for the region, and how would you respond to the messages from the keynote speakers and from the audience vote?
  • Given the different pace of technological development that is seen across the region in areas such as 5G rollout etc., how can the goal of a co-ordinated approach to spectrum management be achieved? How can the needs of all countries and regions across the continent be taken into account in the development of this?
  • What role can spectrum play in driving forward the development of emerging new technologies, and how can it be ensured that a forward looking and cohesive strategy is put in place to enable this?
  • What progress has been made in ensuring that the required spectrum is available to deliver the sustainable, wide-reaching and reliable connectivity that is crucial to the future growth of countries across Sub-Saharan Africa?
  • How can it be ensured that once spectrum is allocated, it is brought to market as quickly and as efficiently as possible?
  • How can spectrum be best harnessed to help contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and other pressing societal challenges for the region?
11:20 - 11:40
Morning refreshments
11:40 - 13:00
Session 2: WRC-23 – progress, challenges and opportunities in Africa and across Region 1

Despite the challenging environment created by the global pandemic, preparations for WRC-23 are progressing well. Both within Africa and elsewhere in Region 1, positions are starting to emerge and good progress on preparatory studies is being seen. And now, less than a month after this event, the second inter-regional workshop is due to be held, providing the latest opportunity for different regions to come together to discuss these emerging positions. This session will provide the opportunity to take stock in the build-up to that meeting and at the progress on preparation that is being made both in Africa and elsewhere. As we move towards the final year of preparation for WRC-23, it will discuss the challenges ahead and the work that still needs to be done to ensure a successful outcome for WRC-23 for the Sub-Sahara region and more broadly.

 

  •  What impact has the pandemic had on preparation for WRC-23, and to what extent is preparation on track both in Africa and elsewhere?
  • What key outcomes and positions emerged at the most recent ATU preparatory meeting, which was held a few months ago?
  • Are we seeing consensuses starting to emerge with regards to the development of a common position across any of the key agenda items?
  • How do these emerging positions compare with those that are starting to be seen elsewhere in region 1 and on a global level?
  • Are we on track with regards to the preparatory studies that have been taking place and the drafting of text for the CPM?
  • Which issues are expected to be the most challenging in finding agreement both within Africa and across region 1 more broadly?
  • What are the key challenges that remain in the final year of preparation for WRC-23, and how can stakeholders in Africa work together to ensure the most successful outcome at the conference for the region as a whole?
13:00 - 14:00
Lunch
14:00 - 15:40
Session 3: Continuing the path towards a harmonized continental 5G strategy

At each of the last 4 editions of this conference, a session has been held that has charted the progress, challenges and opportunities as Sub-Sahara embarks on the path to 5G and looks to deliver a harmonized continental strategy that will help to unleash its true potential. Continuing the discussion, this session will look at the work that has taken place over the last 12 months to build on crucial policy recommendations that were set out last year by ATU, and the work that is being done at a regional level by the African Union Commission. With 5G now a reality in Africa and networks starting to be rolled out across countries including Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria, how can the goal of regional harmonisation be achieved, and what impact can this have on laying the ground for the full potential of 5G to be seen?

  • How important are regional harmonisation efforts and what impact can they have on delivering an environment that encourages mobile network operators to scale up 5G-related investment across the African continent?
  • What recommendations on spectrum policy were put forward by ATU and the African Union last year, and what progress has been made on putting these into practice?
  • What lessons can be taken from those countries that have started to rollout 5G networks across the region, and how can the experiences of these early-movers help contribute to the harmonised regional approach that is being worked towards?
  • 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?
  • What role can the emergence of 5G play in helping to meet the needs of vertical industries across Africa? How can the potential of different technologies and connectivity models be harnessed in order to ensure the sometimes very varied needs of different users are met?
  • What challenges still remain as Africa continues on the path towards a 5G future? How can it be ensured that the benefits of future network technologies are felt by all societies across the region, including those in developing areas and low-income consumers?
  • How close are we to achieving the goal of a coordinated roadmap for the rollout of 5G across the region?
15:40 - 16:00
Afternoon Refreshments
16:00 - 16:30
Session 4: Bringing the Spectrum to Market – Developing a bluepoint for effective spectrum pricing and award mechanisms in Africa

The process of bringing spectrum to market is not a simple one, and there are many different elements for regulators to consider when looking to design a process for assigning spectrum licences that ensures an efficient allocation of the available bandwidth at a fair price; and ultimately delivers a competitive market and encourages innovation. With a number of successful awards having taken place recently in the region, this session will provide the opportunity to look back at these and at the approaches that were taken. It will then move on to look more broadly at the different options that are available to regulators when looking at setting spectrum prices and designing award mechanisms, and at what needs to be done in order to ensure a successful outcome. Focussing on the importance of planning ahead and the role that the provision of a roadmap for spectrum release can play in helping to provide regulatory certainty and promote investment and innovation, it will look to the future and at what needs to be done to ensure that the full value of spectrum that is made available can be harnessed as quickly and as efficiently as possible.

16:30 - 17:30
Session 4 – Panel Discussion
  • What lessons can be taken from recent spectrum awards seen across the Sub-Sahara region and elsewhere?
  • What options are available to regulators looking to set prices for spectrum and to design a process for assigning spectrum licences?
  • What factors should be taken into account when selecting the best approach for a specific situation, and how can it be ensured that the goal of an efficient allocation of the available bandwidth at a fair price is achieved?
  • What are the best examples of national broadband or connectivity plans across the Sub Sahara region, and what targets do these set?
  • How can roadmaps of this kind help to provide regulatory certainty, encourage investment and maximise the benefit of the spectrum that is available?
  • How can it be ensured that spectrum is available for use immediately once it has been auctioned and awarded, and how should the clearing of bands be arranged to achieve this?
  • Once a band has been cleared, how can it be ensured that the award of the available bandwidth is allocated as quickly, fairly and efficiently as possible?
09:00 - 10:10
Session 5: Connecting unserved and underserved regions – progress to date and the path ahead

Closing the digital divide and ensuring that citizens across Africa have reliable access to fast, reliable and affordable broadband services has been a long-standing challenge for regulators across the region. Progress in this area is undoubtably being seen, and according to the ITU, the number of people across Africa with access to broadband grew 2690% from 2010-2020 (admittedly from a very low base), with the price of access to connectivity in the region falling more than in any other region for the same period. However, there is still an extremely long way to go and much work still to be done. This session will look at the approaches that are being seen in different countries across the region, and explore the solutions that have provided the greatest level of success. It will explore recent advancements in technologies such as fixed wireless access and advanced satellite systems, and the role that these can play in delivering a solution, and the way in which industry and regulators can come together in advancing the accessibility of broadband in many parts of Africa is attributable both to the investment and business activity of the private sector as well as the policy and regulatory environment created by the authorities.

 

  • What different approaches to tackling the digital divide are being seen across the region, and which are having the most affect?
  • What countries and sub-regions are seeing the most progress to date, and are there lessons that can be taken from the approaches that they are using
  • What targets are being set across the region when it comes to digital development? How can it be ensured that the connectivity requirements of communities is understood, and that the required solutions to deliver this are rolled out as quickly as possible?
  • How can stakeholders in Africa come together to tackle specific challenges that the region faces such as the shortage of fixed infrastructure, the geographical scale of the areas that is being covered, and the economic challenges of low consumer purchasing power often seen in underserved areas?
  • What technological advances have been seen across crucial technologies such as fixed wireless access (FWA), advanced satellite broadband and WiFi? What potential do these have to be part of the solution?
  • How can spectrum policy help to facilitate faster rollout of networks and ensure that underserved communities and homes are brought online as soon as possible?
10:10 - 10:30
Thinking Point – Exploring the potential of fixed wireless access (FWA) to deliver urban and sub-urban connectivity?
10:30 - 11:00
Morning Refreshments
11:00 - 12:10
Session 6: How can the needs of mobile and satellite be balanced across the 3.5GHz range?

The 3.4GHz-3.6GHz portion of the C-band has been allocated to mobile on a primary basis across Africa and many other regions of the world. The future of the 3.3GHz-3.4GHz and part thereof the 3.6GHz-3.8GHz portion of the band are however still hotly contested, and due to be discussed in detail at WRC-23. Regulators and policymakers tasked to make a decision on this highly sought after spectrum are faced with the question of where the balance lies when looking to meet the needs of both mobile and satellite in a band that both see as vital to their future. This session will explore the work being done in this area both ahead of WRC-23 and more broadly, and the positions that are emerging. It will look at the extent to which it is important that a harmonised approach is achieved both within the Africa and across region 1, as well as discussing the possibility of co-existence between mobile and satellite in the band, and the extent to which new emerging technologies could help to make this a more realistic option.

 

  • Where should the balance lie when considering access for mobile and satellite across the key C-band frequencies that both sectors see as crucial for their future?
  • What are the key issues for consideration for national and regional delegations studying both the 3.3-3.4GHz and parts thereof the 3.6-3.8GHz portions of the band ahead of its discussion at WRC23?
  • What is the level of use of the C-band by satellite services, and specifically of the 3.6-3.7GHz and 3.7-3.8GHz portions of the band?
  • To what extent is there still a need for additional mid-band spectrum in the C-band to be allocated to the mobile service and identified for IMT to meet the either current or future needs for 5G?
    • To what extent could there be potential in the future to explore the use of the 3.8GHz – 4.2GHz portion of the band to help meet these needs of 5G, particularly in urban areas?
    • What progress has been seen in rolling out 5G in countries that have made C-band spectrum available for this both in Africa and elsewhere? What take-up rates have been seen and what challenges have been faced?
  • What are the current challenges of delivering interference-free co-existence between mobile and satellite in the C-band? What work is being done to tackle these, and could there be the scope for advancing technology to assist with the situation at any point in the near future?
  • How can it be ensured that both the efficiency and the socio-economic value of the spectrum across these key frequencies is maximised for consumers and societies across the Sub- Saharan region?
12:09 - 12:30
A view from outside the region: The approach to the C-band in China
12:30 - 12:50
A view from outside the region: The approach to the C-band in Germany
12:50 - 13:50
Lunch
13:50 - 15:00
Session 7: The continuing path to digital switchover and the wider sub-1GHz ecosystem – maximising the value of spectrum across the UHF frequencies

Back in 2013, an agreement was signed by 47 Sub-Saharan African countries to turn off broadcasting signals in the 700 MHz and 800 MHz bands by June 2015. At the time, this was hailed as a “landmark agreement that would make Africa the first region to be in position to allocate spectrum in the 700 MHz and 800 MHz digital dividend bands to mobile services”. We are now 7 years on from this deadline however, this objective of digital switchover has still not been achieved in many countries. And the situation often remains complex, with legal challenges amongst a number of other factors that is blocking progress across different countries. This session will look at the factors that have contributed to this continued delay in switchover and the challenges that still need to be overcome in order to finally be able to move forward. Looking wider across the UHF band, it will also build on the discussions that took place in the WRC-23 panel discussion earlier today, to explore the work that is being done to look at the future of the 470-694 MHz band, and the overall use and needs of existing services across the entire 470-960 MHz range. What does the future hold for the key users across the UHF frequencies, and how can it be ensured that the potential of spectrum in these frequencies is maximised for the benefit of all?

 

  • What is the current state of play with regards to digital migration and the re-assignment of the 700MHz and 800MHz bands across the region? More than 7 years on from the agreed deadline, is the end in sight?
  • What are the main factors that are still delaying this in countries that have not yet undertaken the switchover process and how can these be overcome?
  • What progress has been made on studies that are being conducted ahead of WRC-23 into the feasibility of sharing and compatibility between broadcast and mobile services in the 470- 694 MHz band?
  • To what extent can emerging new technologies and standards have the potential to help to make sharing of this kind a possibility either now or in the future?
  • Could the emergence of 5G and more advanced technologies help facilitate new business models and closer co-ordination between the sectors? Given this, how important is it that a long-term view is taken when considering the future shape of the band?
  • What sensitivities exist in this area, and what safeguards would need to be put in place to protect vital broadcasting services?
  • Given the discussion that is taking place around the future of this band, to what extent is there an argument for countries still working to complete the digital switchover in the 700MHz band to also start exploring options in the 600MHz band at the same time?
  • What are the future plans of the different users in the band (for example broadcasters, mobile, PMSE) and how can their requirements across the band be met in the medium to longer term?
  • How can it be ensured that the potential of spectrum in these frequencies is maximised for the benefit of all?
15:00 - 16:10
Session 8: To licence or not to licence? Maximising the socio-economic benefits of the 6GHz band

In July last year, a recommendation was made by ATU to enable licence-exempt technologies to operate in the lower 6 GHz (5925-6425 MHz) band, but the debate surrounding the future of the upper portion of the band (6425-7125 MHz) and the overall balance of unlicensed and licensed services in the band continues to at pace. It is due to be discussed in detail at WRC-23 (following a recommendation from the African delegation at WRC-19), and positions both in Africa and elsewhere around the world are starting to emerge ahead of this. With the IMT community seeing the band as the ideal substitute in areas that it is challenging to clear the 3.5 GHz band, and the WiFi community argue that making it available on a licence-exempt basis is vital to help addressing the digital divide, improving rural connectivity and accelerate economic innovation, this session will look at the arguments on both sides, and at where the balance of licenced and licence-exempt use across the 6Ghz band should lie.

 

    • Where does the balance lie between licenced and licence-exempt use across the 6Ghz spectrum?
    • What approaches to the upper portion of the band are being seen from different countries across the Sub-Sahara region and elsewhere? What trends are emerging?
    • What socio-economic benefits would be offered by making the spectrum in the band available on an unlicenced or a licensed basis respectively? What approach would provide the best option to maximise these benefits across both developed and developing countries in the Sub-Sahara region?
    • To what extent is co-existence between incumbent and potential new users such as WiFi and 5G feasible? What are some potential challenges would this present and how could these be overcome?
    • Is there a solution that would ensure that sufficient spectrum in the band is available for both WiFi and IMT users?
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Fellowship scheme

ITU and Forum Global will be running a fellowship scheme for both the ITU Workshop and the Sub Sahara Spectrum Management Conference. Fellowship applications will be open to eligible Administrations in the Sub Sahara region. If you are interested to be kept informed about this when we have more information please get in touch.

Event Background

For 7 years, The Sub-Sahara Spectrum Management Conference has provided the leading neutral platform for spectrum stakeholders policy discussion in the region. This event is taking place as part of The Global Spectrum Series.

Global Spectrum Series

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

2021 Edition

The Sub Sahara Spectrum Management Conference is now in its 7th year. The 2021 edition welcomed over 700 delegates virtually. More information on this event and links to catch up sessions can be found below. 

Venue

Taj Hotel Cape Town
1 Waal Straat, Corner St Georges Mall
Cape Town City Centre
Cape Town, 8000
South Africa