LR: Mr. François Rancy, Director of the Radiocommunication Bureau of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), CA’s Mr. Christopher Wambua, Director General Mr. Francis Wangusi, Broadcasting and Telecommunications Principal Secretary Mr. Sammy Itemere and African Telecommunications Union (ATU) Secretary General Mr.Abdoulkarim Soumaila during the 3rd Annual Sub-Sahara Spectrum Management Conference in Nairobi. 

Regulators, industry players, operators and manufacturers gathered in Nairobi this past week for the 3rd Annual Sub-Sahara Spectrum Management Conference.

The Sub-Sahara Spectrum Management Conference brought together leading regional and international experts to look at all the key spectrum management issues for the region.

It examined current strategies and priorities, analysed the technological and regulatory options that are available to regulators and industry in order to maximise the potential that this key natural resource brings, and to fully release the huge potential that it offers in delivering economic growth to the region.

The conference also exchanged views on the preparatory studies and priorities for World Radiocommunication Conference 2019 (WRC-19) , to be held from 28 October to 22 November 2019 in Egypt.

This included collaborative discussions on the international regulatory framework for the next decade and more of the frequency spectrum allocations for all radiocommunication services.

With the progress of wireless technologies and the evolution of spectrum requirements, one key outcome of WRC-19 will be the modification of the Radio Regulations, the international treaty governing the use of the radiofrequency spectrum at the global level.

Sammy Itemere, The Principal Secretary Ministry of Information, Communications and Technology , who officiated the conference on behalf of  the Cabinet Secretary, Joe Mucheru said , regulators need to focus on policies that can fast-track,  the release of spectrum in a timely manner to industry for infrastructure development, without losing focus on other emerging issues such as privacy and security.

“The move to the 5G era requires that as policy makers, we put in place policies and regulatory frameworks that support investment and innovation,” Mr Itemere said.

5G technology aims to provide much higher capacity than current 4G systems, increasing the number of broadband users, and providing service at lightning speeds. Set to become reality by 2020, with early trials and use cases already in the works, 5G will be needed to power the data-heavy Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem that will fuel tomorrow's digital economy.

Francis Wangusi, the Director General Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) noted that the stretch that will make 5G a reality in Africa requires convincing market-based research and home-grown innovations.

“As we pursue discussion on 5G technology, we must stay prepared to take advantage of the opportunities and address any related challenges. Having implemented 2G, 3G and now fourth generation technologies, we ought to apply the lessons learnt as we plan for the deployment of 5G whose battle is raging,” Mr Wangusi said.

"The very active development of 5G  is putting a lot of pressure on manufacturers and operators to start technology developments and network deployments ahead WRC-19 decisions. I am glad to see that ITU is responsive to this situation by working on achieving an early consensus towards global harmonization of 5G frequency bands, which is essential to produce the economies of scale that will benefit all countries for the rapid development of wireless broadband," said François Rancy, Director of ITU's Radiocommunication Bureau.