Sunday, November 25, 2012

African government stifling continent’s telecom growth

The telecommunications industry in Africa faces roadblocks towards progress especially as many governments in the continent are failing to sell more bandwidth and spectrum to mobile operators. Countries like Kenya, South Africa, and Nigeria are showing a tremendous increase in consumer activity and usage of mobile phones for calls, but their governments are unable to auction more bandwidth capacity to meet these demands because of financial constraints and a lack of technical know-how.

Based on a study by the World Bank, economic growth in Africa is related to an increase in broadband penetration rates. Unfortunately, in many Sub-Saharan nations, governments do not know how to optimize the spectrum release, and fail to see how crucial mobile network improvement is. This is alarming in a region where half of the population connects to the Internet via handheld devices althought many governments are also seeing the crucial role satellite internet will play for nationwide broadband projects.

Data traffic in Africa is rising but the necessary tools to allocate spectrums in order to support the growth is still not in place. Many governments cannot afford to hire foreign advisors, and there has been a lack of experts with sufficient telecom experience to wrestle the challenges brought about by telecom constraints. Analysts say that Africa’s mobile subscribers may hit 761 million by the end of 2012. The pressure is now on the government to resolve the stifled bandwidth scenario if their citizens are to continue to enjoy the continent’s robust economic growth.

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