Effective spectrum pricing in Africa – successful awards drive mobile connectivity

Wednesday 4 Nov 2020 |

Effective spectrum pricing in Africa – successful awards drive mobile connectivity image

The GSMA’s latest spectrum pricing report takes a look at this important topic in Africa. Spectrum licensing and pricing, in particular, can play a crucial role in accelerating the adoption of mobile services and providing better networks and services for consumers.

The new “Effective Spectrum Pricing in Africa” report is unprecedented in scope and depth, tracking spectrum assignments across nearly 50 African countries for the period 2010–2019.

The aim is to give regulators and governments the arguments they need implement policies that help improve mobile capacity and expand connectivity.

The report’s key findings:

Governments in Africa have assigned approximately half the amount of mobile spectrum compared with the global average. This gap in spectrum assignments has emerged and expanded over the last decade, making it difficult for operators to offer fast mobile broadband speeds. Governments in the region have also on average licensed 3G and 4G spectrum around three years later than other regions.

African countries account for a large proportion of the highest spectrum prices globally. Adjusting spectrum prices by income, Africa accounts for about half of all the high or extremely high spectrum prices worldwide. Even if we exclude extreme outliers, spectrum prices remain high. Median prices are four times higher than in the developed world and twice as high as the global median.

Licensing more spectrum earlier and at affordable prices can pay dividends for consumers. Higher amounts of spectrum and lower spectrum prices are strongly linked to higher population coverage. The same is true for download speeds and adoption. Countries that have assigned spectrum earlier have also achieved higher coverage levels.

Over the last three years, the GSMA has developed solid research showing how spectrum prices can slow down network rollouts, reduce quality and coverage. This isn’t just true for Africa, but for the rest of the world, as well. The “Effective Spectrum Pricing in Africa” report is available below and a blog here. The webinar is available in English here and French here. The other spectrum pricing reports can be found here.

Full report (English)

Full report (French)