Governments and regulators across Africa were urged to focus on spectrum policy to ensure a successful 5G rollout across the region by GSMA, as the industry association set out a roadmap for efficient deployments.

In a blog, GSMA head of sub-Saharan Africa Angela Wamola noted the organisation’s latest report into current and future 5G spectrum assignments highlighted a need for a step-by-step approach covering identifying and identifying potential bands.

Wamola acknowledged while the high-level steps may be the same for every country, detailed activities and timing under each may vary.

“A vital part of the roadmap process is spectrum clearance and defragmentation. Consultations with all parties during the process are, therefore, critical for success.”

Other factors highlighted include obtaining the right spectrum valuation, with Africa known historically for accounting for a large proportion of the highest spectrum prices globally due to limited coverage and lower network speeds.

Wamola also noted a need to address planning and licensing approaches, which could vary on factors such as density of mobile use in the country, development of 4G and 5G and a plan on moving incumbents to alternative frequency bands or technology.

She concluded by stating the integration of 5G into lives and work has great potential but added not all next-generation “networks are equal, and the right policies can help governments and regulators make the most of them, both now and in the future”.