LIVE FROM MWC21 AFRICA: Executives from Vodacom Group and Airtel Africa called for spectrum allocation and partnerships with ecosystem players to fulfill 5G deployment targets, and fuel the continent’s social and economic growth.
In a keynote, Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub (pictured) explained early allocation of next-generation spectrum was needed for several services boosted by low latency including remote working and learning.
Joosub told the event 5G can be “a good alternative to fibre” as the company has driven deployment costs down to a comparative level to FTTH.
The Vodacom chief explained it can “use 5G very differently” in Africa compared with the rest of the world, explaining the technology can offer it “that broadband connectivity, it can help us to make sure that we can reach every home”.
He called for regulators to “remove the impediments and make it easier” for operators to access the spectrum “quickly”.
Michael Foley, regional director of Francophone territories at Airtel Africa, concurred, adding it is preparing 5G network upgrades, but requires spectrum.
“We have a number of markets where people are not using the spectrum that they have or they are speculating on it. This needs to be addressed because it’s not in the public interest, and it’s not in the interest at all in terms of social and economic development”.
The executives also cited collaboration with OTT players and manufacturers as necessary to boost connectivity.
Foley explained knowing the needs of partners would help steer service creation, adding Airtel needs to “work with the GSMA to assess issues where taxation and regulatory matters become predatory to some extent”.
For Vodacom, collaboration is needed “to empower people to have access to the internet and take the full advantage of what coverage and the capabilities of these technologies provide to us”, Joosub explained.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back