LIVE FROM GSMA MOBILE 360 SERIES – AFRICA: Thomas Chalumeau, CSO for Orange MEA (pictured, left), said there has been a “real acceleration” in discussions around infrastructure sharing in Africa, with other participants in a panel discussion also talking positively around the topic.
“We have felt some change over the last couple of months. For instance, today we are in active discussion in the Ivory Coast with our main competitor in the market, MTN, to share a fibre transmission network. That’s a huge change from just the previous year,” Chalumeau said, adding: “In DRC, we have fully understood the expectations and the requirements of the governmental authority, and we are working with our main competitors, for example Airtel or Vodafone, in sharing on the radio side, which will enable us to be stronger in deploying in new areas.”
Mohamed Dabbour, EVP Africa at Millicom (pictured, right), said his organisation is a “very strong supporter of sharing initiatives”.
He said governments should look at policies to enable sharing, “not only the passive network, but also the active and spectrum”.
“I think that is what will help us extend accessibility, and bring more people connectivity,” he continued.
However, Mark Rotter, treasurer at Dynamic Spectrum Alliance (pictured, centre), pointed to one fly in the ointment: “On the projects I’ve been involved in across Africa, part of the coverage problem is there is no infrastructure to share. Let’s be real: that’s the problem we are trying to solve,” he said.
“But forward-looking business models that allow collaboration and sharing, that’s important. And for me that goes back to spectrum sharing and the mechanisms by which people who have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in spectrum are equitably dealt with when you look at what they are sharing,” he continued.