ITC RRS Africa 2023 Radial visual cropped

Efficient frequency management is key to advancing Africa’s wireless services

Experts and officials from ITU’s Africa Region discussed ways to enhance digital connectivity using broadband wireless and satellite technologies

The African telecommunications industry is calling for greater investment in wireless broadband and satellite technologies on the continent to expand access to affordable and sustainable digital connectivity.

Regulators, industry experts, and academia met during the ITU Regional Radiocommunication Seminar for Africa (RRS-23-Africa) and reiterated the critical need for digital technologies to enable sustainable development for Africa.


The seminar, held in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo, on 20-23 June, was organized by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in collaboration with the Policy and Regulation Initiative for Digital Africa (PRIDA) and hosted by the Republic of the Congo’s Postal and Electronic Communications Regulatory Agency (ARPCE) in cooperation with the African Telecommunications Union (ATU).

The seminar discussed Africa’s future radio-frequency spectrum requirements in the context of revisions made to the Radio Regulations by the last World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-19), held in Sharm-el-Sheikh, Egypt, in 2019.

Spectrum requirements are continually reviewed at the regional level to keep up with new technologies and changing demand.

“Efficient spectrum management is key to enabling universal connectivity in Africa,” said Léon Juste Ibombo, Minister of Postal Services, Telecommunications, and the Digital Economy in the host country. “Countries in the region need to keep working together towards a common approach that will meet the region’s spectrum needs. Africa looks forward to successful negotiations at the upcoming WRC-23 in Dubai, UAE.”

Fundamental for expanding connectivity

Participants in the regional seminar reviewed key aspects of spectrum management at the national and international levels in relation to the ITU Radio Regulations, the international treaty governing the global use of radio-frequency spectrum and satellite orbits.

They also addressed procedures for submitting frequency assignments to the International Frequency Information Exchange (IFIE) database; the current regulatory framework for international frequency management; ITU Radiocommunication (ITU-R) Recommendations; and best practices for spectrum use by both terrestrial and space services.

Mario Maniewicz, Director of the ITU Radiocommunication Bureau, called efficient management of radio-frequency spectrum a prerequisite for countries to achieve affordable connectivity for everyone in Africa.

“The regional seminar series is a key component of our capacity-building program to strengthen national and regional policies and ensure better use of the radio spectrum,” he added. “These meetings enable the administrations of ITU Member States, as well as companies and organizations that are engaged with us as sector members, to familiarize themselves with key tools and documents for efficient, forward-looking spectrum management.”

Participants reviewed updates to the Radio Regulations (2020 Edition), including results of WRC-19, as well as the agenda for WRC-23 in Dubai this November and December.

Regulators and industry stakeholders exchanged ideas on which agenda items had the greatest regional-level implications for Africa.

The seminar also examined international spectrum harmonization and the procedures for recording frequency assignments in the Master International Frequency Register (MIFR).

A workshop portion included training on tools developed by ITU for frequency notices and technical examinations. Through various tutorials, participants gained experience with ITU notification procedures, as well as with the software and electronic publications that the Radiocommunication Bureau provides for ITU Member States and ITU-R sector members.

RRS-23 for Africa concluded with a “Wireless Broadband: Terrestrial and Space” workshop, in which industry representatives discussed how wireless broadband and satellite services can help bridge the digital divide in Africa with affordable and sustainable connectivity.

Clarifying regional spectrum priorities

ITU Regional Radiocommunication Seminars aim to assist ITU Member States, particularly developing countries, in spectrum management activities and the application of the ITU Radio Regulations and relevant ITU-R publications.

The seminars are also key to enabling ITU Member States to make use of ITU-provided tools and resources in formulating their national and regional policies on the use of the radio spectrum.

The seminars complement the biennial World Radiocommunication Seminars, helping countries and regions to fully understand and implement the Radio Regulations. Part of a four-year conference cycle, the regional discussions particularly illuminate the treaty’s most recently adopted provisions, enabling all countries and regions to prepare over the four-year cycle for the next World Radiocommunication Conference.

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