Telecom study calls for issue of regional licenses in East Africa

Posted on April 12, 2014 01:18 pm

Telecom regulations experts in East Africa are proposing issuance of license for new broadband wireless access technologies on a region-wide basis and via auction, according to a study conducted last year and released this week. The study is on the broadband wireless access service licensing and regulations for new technology service.  After perusing through the document, it will be of great significance to use the study to draw up its licensing regulations of the new broadband wireless access technologies, such as the Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access in East African countries that are hungry for reliable and fast data access. According to the study, the choices of the spectrums for providing the new broadband wireless access technologies are 2.3GHz and 2.5 GHz and the most appropriate one is 2.3 GHz. Given that most parts of both spectrums are being fully used by state agencies and private firms, the states have to re-allocate them first before it can grant the licenses. I personally think that the licenses should be granted on a regional basis, instead of nationwide.

One applicant can apply for licenses to provide the service in many regions. There should be three licenses of new broadband wireless technologies available to each country in East African region to promote competition in the regional markets, which would benefit consumers accordingly. I also think the licenses should be granted via the auction method if the number of the applicants in that region exceeds the license number and that is why there’s market consolidation in the region. Governments should consider issuing licenses to the applicants without the auction process if those applicants plan to provide the broadband wireless technology services in some remote areas. The licenses have to contain the valid period and the network roll out period. Moreover, the licenses must determine the network sharing among the licensees in each region to encourage maximum network use. The regulators need to determine the use of new spectrums for providing new broadband wireless technologies in line with the standard of the International Telecom Union. The frequency allocation law mandates both licensing bodies to manage together the telecom and broadcasting spectra and prescribe their use. ITU under the framework of the United Nation coordinates with governments and companies on the operations of telecom networks and services and the development of communications technology.

Contador Harrison