- 05 September, 2018: Availability of spectrum and its proper management are key in the provision of novel digital services in the realm of wireless communications for sustained progress in a digital era, said the Minister of Technology, Communication and Innovation, Mr Yogida Sawmynaden.
He was speaking yesterday at the opening of the Commonwealth Spectrum Management Forum from 04 to 06 September 2018 at the Intercontinental Mauritius Resort, Balaclava organised at the initiative of the Ministry of Technology, Communication and Innovation in collaboration with the Information and Communication Technologies Authority (ICTA) and the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO).
Minister Sawmynaden emphasised the importance of digitalising the economy with the adoption of emerging technologies while stating that all countries around the globe are currently being digitally transformed including Mauritius. In this respect, he underpinned the need for communication bandwidth which he added is key to further development of the digital economy adding that while 4G technology is still being deployed in the world, 5G is already behind the corner with the promise of data speeds never achieved before in mobile communications.
He further dwelt on the perspective around spectrum management which is to adopt market-based mechanisms for the allocation of spectrum as well as allowing a secondary market for spectrum to emerge. According to him, different models have been used for spectrum management in the world, thus the importance of holding the forum which he said will provide an opportunity to look at the different implementation possibilities on how we could make spectrum management and provision more efficient and less costly to better serve the interest of the country and the population.
The Minister also highlighted that the Forum has come at an opportune time when Mauritius is in the process of adopting a new spectrum management framework in the context of the merger of the ICTA and the Independent Broadcasting Authority as announced in Budget Speech 2016-2017.
Minister Sawmynaden recalled that currently the digital economy contributes up to 5.6% to the GDP with the December 2017 Internet penetration statistics indicating that 98.7% of the population is using the Internet. This, he added has tallied well with Broadband penetration which has increased to 78.4% making Mauritius one of the top countries with such massive adoption of high-speed Internet connectivity by the population.
Moreover, he underscored that mobile penetration, which now stands at 145% in Mauritius, has become the main driver for Internet in the country which he said is also reflected on the global level. However, he called for more innovation and modernisation regarding the existing spectrum which dates back to the early 2000 as the core resource for provision of Internet and digital services which need to be reviewed. This mechanism, he observed has served the country well but now needs to be modernised so that barriers to innovation that may exist in the current mechanism are removed.
The three-day Commonwealth Spectrum Management Forum regrouping delegates from Commonwealth countries will cover topics and issues related to spectrum management instruments such as command and control, incentive pricing, primary auctions, secondary trading and unlicensed spectrum.
Besides, the Forum aims to build the capacity of stakeholders in managing spectrum from planning and assigning to utilising and recovery as well as to help stakeholders prepare for the next World Radio Communication Conference (WRC-19) be held towards the end of next year in Egypt.The deliberations will eventually evolve around the deployment of 5G, dynamic spectrum sharing.
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