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Release of Spectrum: 40M Sub-Saharan Africans to be Lifted Out of Poverty

In Uncategorized on November 30, 2011 at 10:46 am

Release of Spectrum Is Set to Generate an Additional US$82 billion in GDP Per Year and Help Lift 40 Million Sub-Saharan Africans Out of Poverty by 2025

ATU Digital Migration and Spectrum Policy Summit, Nairobi: The GSMA today announced that greater allocation of spectrum for Mobile Broadband is vital for the economic and social development of sub-Saharan Africa. New findings from a report by the GSMA and Plum Consulting reveal that, across the region, the release of Mobile Broadband spectrum in the Digital Dividend and the 2.6GHz bands by 2015 in sub-Saharan Africa could:

 

 

– Create up to 27 million new jobs, increase GDP per capita by 5.2 per

cent[1], which will directly lift 40 million people out of poverty[2]by 2025; and

– Increase GDP and government tax revenues by US$82 billion and US$18 billion

per year respectively by 2025.

 

 

Mobile voice and SMS services have made major economic contributions to sub-Saharan Africa over the past decade and accounted for 3.5 per cent of regional GDP by 2010. While the effects of broadband internet access are just beginning to be felt across the region, its importance has been recognised by the UN Broadband Commission for Digital Development which has set a global broadband challenge “to ensure that 40 per cent of households in developing countries are using broadband internet by 2015[3].” In sub-Saharan Africa, the lack of fixed line telecom infrastructure means that Mobile Broadband services will be essential in achieving this target.

The GSMA expects that there will be 240 million Mobile Broadband connections in sub-Saharan Africa by 2015, compared to just 4 million fixed broadband connections[4]. The GSMA is therefore calling on countries across the region, including Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania, to urgently release harmonised spectrum for Mobile Broadband. This will expand the reach and availability of affordable broadband services and help realise significant economic and human development gains for sub-Saharan Africa.

Currently, just 80MHz of spectrum is available for delivering Mobile Broadband service in a typical African market. In contrast, mobile operators in many middle and high-income markets have access up to 400MHz of spectrum for delivering Mobile Broadband.

“African governments must act now to release much-needed spectrum for Mobile Broadband services if they are to meet the UN’s 40 per cent broadband target,” said Peter Lyons, Director of Spectrum Policy, Africa and Middle East, GSMA. “Increased spectrum will lower the cost of mobile devices, improve speed of data communication, and ultimately help nearly 40 million Africans escape poverty.”

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