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CTO ends first confab on spectrum management in Yaoundé

The first conference on spectrum management organised by the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) will end today November 4, 2016 in Yaoundé, Cameroon.

The event is attended by over 120 policymakers, regulators, private-sector executives and representatives from interest groups such as GSMA, The International Telecommunication Union and the African Telecommunications Union are among the international and regional organisations also taking part in the event. Private-sector participants include AINMT, ATDI, Avanti Communications, Inmarsat, Facebook and MTN.

Over the past three decades, the CTO has run numerous capacity development and training programmes for radio communications engineers and policymakers on spectrum. At one point, the organisation was known mainly for such technical programmes.

“As mobile and wireless communication technologies continue to improve, and as many more of us access and increasingly also depend on these technologies, spectrum is becoming an evermore important resource,” said CTO’s Secretary-General Shola Taylor in his opening address.

Recent conferences by the London-based organisation, such as those on digital broadcasting migration or broadband or rural connectivity, have included sessions on spectrum issues. However, the Yaoundé event is the first forum organised specifically on spectrum by the organisation.

“At the very least, spectrum’s economic value has increased dramatically from what it was only 20 years ago, and today it is no longer a mere natural resource or commodity for many of our member countries, it is increasingly also a life-critical and life-changing resource. 5G data and machine-to-machine wireless networks alone will inevitably increase ICTs contribution to the economy of those countries, but the underlying technologies require more spectrum and international consensus on how it should be allocated, hence our decision to dedicate a whole event to this subject,” Mr Taylor explained.

During three days, participants discussed a range of issues, including planning for 5G: global and regional perspectives, WRC-15’s outcomes and implications for spectrum sharing, Maximising spectrum capacity for broadband development, Spectrum bands, technologies and solutions

Efficient spectrum utilisation for universal access, Spectrum planning for the future of broadcasting, and Spectrum auctions.

The event was officially opened by Honourable Minette Libom Li Likeng, Minister of Posts & Telecommunications of Cameroon who also called on regulators to maintain transparency and fairness when assigning spectrum.

Taylor took the opportunity to praise host Minister Libom Li Likeng for the big impact she has had in her country’s ICT sector despite being relatively new to the field. He stressed that the CTO is keen on expanding ICTs in the country by supporting the good work of her ministry and Cameroon’s Telecommunications Regulatory Board (TRB), co-hosts of the Yaoundé event. He further pointed out that the good working relationship is exemplified by the parallel work going on in Cameroon on cybersecurity.

In his welcoming address, Jean Louis Beh Mengue, General Manager of the TRB thanked the CTO for a positive working relationship exemplified by the recent opportunity he had in chairing the CTO’s annual forum held in Fiji in September, and also for his re-election on the CTO’s Executive Committee.