5G signal

The former Acting Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and Chairman of the Commonwealth ITU Group, Dr Bashir Gwandu, has said it is important that Africa has access to the right 5G Spectrum and also minimal constraints for its use.

In his remarks at the ongoing Southern African Development Community (SADC) preparatory meeting in Windhoek, Namibia, Gwandu said, “SADC countries should take steps to ensure that telco regulators in the region and Africa work to guarantee the availability of appropriate Spectrum.”

He said, “They should also ensure that any Spectrum that is to be allocated by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) in the upcoming World radio communication conference 2019 (WRC-19) should have minimal constraints for its use.”

Gwandu made special emphasis on the need for all African countries to continue with the effort of ensuring that 26GHz band along with the whole of 40GHz as well as 66GHz bands are made available for 5G through relevant identification for IMT.

He further stated that the provision of the 26GHz band is not sufficient but that “the constraints for use of such spectrum should be minimal.”

Specifically, he was of the view that since Japan proposed out-of-band emission limits of -20dB(W/200 MHz) and the Arab region is already promoting values of -32 dB(W/200 MHz) for IMT Base Stations, then the SADC as well as African group should push for values that are at least similar to those proposed by the neighbouring Arab region instead of the current range of -32 to -37dB(W/200 MHz) that has been proposed for the protection of Earth Exploration Satellite Service (passive services).

Gwandu said for handsets or user equipment the out-of-band emission limits should be aimed at -28 dB(W/200 MHz) in line with Arab proposals. These low constraints proposal, according to Gwandu, has the benefit of ensuring that devices and handset are much cheaper and with the attendant benefit of making them affordable for Africans who in any case have affordability challenges in comparison to countries that are proposing more stringent protection values.

Gwandu said that there was the need to aim higher as Africa approaches the negotiations that will take place at the conference.

He said further that in the effort to use 3.3-3.8GHz for pre-5G services, Africa should also ensure the availability of such Spectrum, “so that the continent is not left behind.”

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