How deregulation can unlock Africa’s telecom boom


Dr Raul Katz | President | Telecom Advisory Services | mail me |

We are providing new insights into the African telecom space with the release of a groundbreaking white paper, “The Independent Tower Industry as a Key Enabler of the Development of African Telecommunications.”

This first-of-its-kind study dives deep into the continent’s telecoms landscape, analysing 14 key markets, including Egypt, Morocco, Rwanda, South Africa and Tanzania, revealing a compelling link between tower deployment and mobile sector performance over the past decade (2010-2022).

The white paper utilises robust econometric models, factoring in crucial variables like 4G coverage, mobile broadband adoption, service quality, competition levels, and service affordability. This comprehensive approach paints a clear picture of the sector’s current state and immense potential.

The whitepaper highlights the significant impact of independent tower companies on wireless connectivity in Africa, with countries exhibiting better coverage, use, affordability, and quality of wireless connectivity when there is a larger share of independent tower companies.

The tower industry advocates for long-term guarantees and stability for investors because it provides a conducive environment for sustained growth and development, reducing their perceived risk and incentivising investment in infrastructure projects such as tower deployment.

Unlocking 5G’s potential

The study emphasises the critical need for increased infrastructure to support the rollout of next-generation 5G networks.

To achieve this, the authors propose a multi-pronged approach:

  • Strategic zoning – Implementing regulations that prevent excessive tower deployment while ensuring efficient use of land.
  • Streamlined approvals – Expediting permit processes to accelerate infrastructure development.
  • Fair market access – Granting tower companies access to public buildings and right-of-way at market rates to facilitate optimal network placement.

All data points to the competitive and dynamic nature of the tower industry and the need to foster an investment and regulatory environment that maximizes the benefits of infrastructure sharing, a key element of the industry’s business model. This builds a powerful case for the independent tower industry as a driving force behind Africa’s dynamic telecom sector.

By implementing the proposed recommendations, African nations can unlock the full potential of digital infrastructure, fostering economic growth and social development across the continent.

The future of the tower industry

The tower industry plays a pivotal role in the IoT and smart cities market spaces, offering new avenues for growth and innovation. The development of an independent tower industry is fundamental for the advancement of telecommunications in African countries, leading to improved service penetration.

By implementing the recommendations outlined in this white paper, African governments can maximise the potential of tower deployment, promote competition, and support the future growth of 5G networks. This strategic approach will unlock the full potential of mobile connectivity and drive economic growth, positioning Africa as a leader in the digital revolution.

This white paper serves as a roadmap for investors and businesses looking to tap into the burgeoning telecommunications sector in Africa, offering insights into the industry’s trajectory and the vast opportunities it presents for economic growth and innovation.



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