The GSM Association (GSMA), the trade body of mobile service providers has informed sub-Saharan African governments that greater allocation of spectrum for mobile broadband could yield $82 billion which is vital for the economic and social development of their countries.
New findings from a report by the GSMA and Plum Consulting revealed that, across the region, the release of mobile broadband spectrum in the Digital Dividend and the 2.6GHz bands by 2015 in sub-Saharan Africa could create up to 27 million new jobs, increase GDP per capita by 5.2 per cent, which will directly lift 40 million people out of poverty by 2025; and increase GDP and government tax revenues by $82 billion and $18 billion per year respectively by 2025.
Mobile voice and SMS services have made major economic contributions to sub-Saharan Africa over the past decade and accounted for 3.5 per cent of regional GDP by 2010. While the effects of broadband internet access are just beginning to be felt across the region, its importance has been recognised by the United Nation Broadband Commission for Digital Development which has set a global broadband challenge “to ensure that 40 per cent of households in developing countries are using broadband internet by 2015.”
In sub-Saharan Africa, the lack of fixed line telecom infrastructure means that mobile broadband services will be essential in achieving this target. The GSMA expects that there will be 240 million mobile broadband connections in sub-Saharan Africa by 2015, compared to just 4 million fixed broadband connections4.