The Sub Sahara Spectrum Management Conference took place virtually from July 20 – 22.
The conference provided a platform for stakeholders to come together and discuss topical issues relating to the management and coordination of spectrum policy across the region.
Attendees had 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…
The conference is part of The Global Spectrum Series – the world’s largest collection of regional spectrum policy events.
Making Spectrum work for Africa – Tackling the global and regional digital divides and bringing the required spectrum to market.
Building up to WRC-23: A focus on key bands and issues – The UHF band, the emerging shape of the 3.3-4.2GHz C-Band and the future of the 6GHz band.
Looking Ahead – The path towards 5G and harnessing emerging technologies to build Africa’s digital future.
Acting Executive Director
Head of Electronic Communications
Senior Director of Government Affairs for MEA
Public Policy Director, SSA
Vice President, Industry Relations
Chair, WRC-23 Working Group 1B
Chair, WRC-23 Working Group 2,
Chair, WRC-23 Working Group 4A
All times listed below are in Central Africa Time Zone (UTC + 2)
To help set the scene for the event and help identify some concrete aims and objectives, this opening session will hear from influential policy voices on what they see as the key spectrum challenges for the region and give them an opportunity to provide messages and challenges to industry speakers and stakeholders on what they would like to see from them. There will then be a chance for industry to respond, and some concrete targets and objectives for the event will be set.
5 minutes each from 3 policymakers. Pre-recorded and seen by industry representatives in advance
– What do you see as the key spectrum challenges for the region?
– What would be your one key message for industry?
– What do you hope to get out of this conference?
The pandemic has shone a light on the importance of connectivity, and highlighted the inequalities between the digital ‘haves’ and the digital ‘have nots’ across the Sub-Sahara region. The huge increase in home-working, home-schooling and simply the need to remain connected in order to keep in touch has really brought home the huge the importance to citizens everywhere of having affordable and reliable connectivity available in their home. And as we move towards a digital recovery, this importance is only going to grow. Each community and home in the region without connectivity leads to the potential of more citizens being left behind as Africa looks to embrace digitalisation. Given the legacy challenge of very little fixed infrastructure that is seen in Africa, there is a need to be creative with solutions to deliver the broadband penetration that is required in order to tackle this challenge. This session will explore the potential offered by different technologies such as fixed wireless access, advanced satellite broadband and more, and the work that is being done across the region to deliver connectivity and enable a digital future for Africa’s citizens everywhere.
Presentations and panel discussion with Zoran Lazarevic, Chief Technology Officer, Middle East & Africa, Ericsson, Kenneth Wallstedt, Director, Technology Strategy Key Customers, Ericsson, Shiletsi Makhofane, Head of Government and Industry Relations, Ericsson & Shiv Bakhshi, Vice President, Industry Relations, Ericsson.
Presentations and panel discussion with Jeffrey Yan, Microsoft, Prof. Raul Katz, Telecom Advisory Services, Alan Ramírez García, MTC Peru, Majed Alkhouly, CITC Saudi Arabia & Glenn Fallas, SUTEL Costa Rica and Martha Suarez, President, DSA.
Backhaul for mobile base stations is an essential element to provide cellular services. Wireless point- to-point backhaul is the most frequently used solution for this across Africa, with both satellite and microwave links being used extensively. Both fields have seen significant technological advancements over recent years – satellite backhaul has become a far more economically viable solution, whilst the introduction of LTE advanced and 5G has increased the capacity potential of microwave links significantly. This session will look at the mix of different technologies that will be required in order to meet backhaul requirements in different scenarios across the region. It will look at different spectrum requirements, and at the importance of ensuring that suitable bands are made available with an appropriate regulatory regime and reasonable price in order to facilitate the deployment of these access technologies.
Whilst the digital switchover and clearing process in the 700MHz band continues in countries across the Sub Sahara region, WRC-23 is going to also increase attention on the 470 – 694 MHz band. Agenda item 1.5 will study the feasibility of sharing and compatibility between broadcast and mobile services in the band, as well as conducting a broader review into the spectrum use and needs of existing services across the entire 470-960 MHz range. This session will look at the future ecosystem across the whole UHF band, and with a number of new technologies and standards emerging, examine the extent to which this may increase the potential for sharing between mobile and broadcast services. It will also explore some of the positions that are starting to emerge in the sub-700MHz band across the Sub-Sahara and elsewhere in Region 1. Where does the balance lie in meeting the needs of broadcast, PMSE, IMT and other key users within the UHF band?
Live presentation and Q&A with Roy Blatch, Consultant, The Systems House and Hongjie Yang, Marketing Director, Huawei Technologies.
Presentation and Q&A from Stefan Zehle, CEO & Co-Founder, Coleago Consulting.
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 the 3.6GHz – 3.8 GHz portions of the band are however still hotly contested, and due to be discussed in detail at WRC-23. With C-band frequencies across the band being used as the basis for the first implementations of 5G globally, regulators and policymakers are faced with the task of delivering the required spectrum for this, whilst also safeguarding the vital needs of incumbent satellite users. This session will look at the different approaches being seen across different regions, and explore the importance of delivering a harmonised approach. Bringing the focus back to Africa, it will look at the long-term future of the band here, and the best way to balance the requirements of all key users.
The 6Ghz band is currently used around the world by satellite and microwave systems, but both unlicensed and licensed services are looking to get access to spectrum in the band. As an option for 5G, it is particularly attractive for countries and regions that have specific challenges in making available sufficient wideband channels in other mid-band frequencies. At WRC-19, the decision was taken to leave the lower portion of the band (5925-6425 MHz) for licence-exempt use, whilst (with the support of many countries from Africa), the upper portion of the band (6425-7125 MHz) is to be studied ahead of a possible IMT identification at WRC-23. This session will look at the next steps from here, and at the long-term future of the band.
Looking beyond IMT issues, there are also some key agenda items for Africa at WRC-23 relating to other sectors and themes. This thinking point will provide the opportunity to focus on these in a bit more detail.