The Director of the Radicommunication Bureau, ITU, Mr. Francois Rancy wishes to announce that 47 Sub-Saharan African countries have successfully completed frequency coordination negotiations to deploy digital television in Africa in the lower part of the UHF band (470-694 MHz). As an illustration of the quality of the result obtained, 97.37% of the frequency assignments requirements were satisfied, compared to 97.17% for the whole UHF Band at the 2006 Regional Radiocommunication Conference (RRC-06) which adopted the GE06 Plan.
The cooperation with the African Telecommunications Union (ATU) has been essential to achieve this result and the Director of the Radiocommunication Bureau wishes to extend his profound appreciation to the ATU Secretary-General, Mr Abdoukarim Soumaila and to the ATU for the cooperation rendered to African administrations on the GE06 frequency Plan modification exercise as intended by Resolution 232 (WRC-12).
Following the instructions from the ministerial Summits jointly organized by ATU and ITU on the Digital Transition & Spectrum Policy in December 2011 (Nairobi) and September 2012 (Accra), the final frequency coordination meeting on the GE06 plan revision for Sub-Saharan African countries was held successfully in Nairobi from 15 to 19 July 2013 (for which notifications were received up until the agreed deadline of 31 August). This meeting, jointly organized by ATU and ITU, hosted by the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) and endorsed by the Government of Kenya, attracted 124 Participants from 35 Member States. It was the third and last overall coordination meeting of African countries, after similar meetings in Bamako (March 2011) and Kampala (April 2011) and a number of other bilateral and multilateral meetings held in 2011 and 2012.
The objective was to enable African countries to allocate the digital dividend to mobile services in the band 694-862 MHz as a regionally harmonized implementation of the World Radiocommunication Conference 2012 (WRC-12) decisions. This objective was reached by re-planning the spectrum requirements of television broadcasting in the frequency band 470-694 MHz, reduced by 43% compared to the original frequency band covered by GE06 Plan (470-862 MHz). This was made possible by reducing the minimum GE06 Plan allocation of seven nation-wide coverages per country to four.
The success of this meeting, which culminated 18 months of joint efforts including the ITU Sectors (BR, BDT) and the Regional Office for Africa, has far-reaching implications. Africa now becomes the first region to be in a position to allocate the digital dividend to the mobile service for both the 700 MHz and 800 MHz bands as soon as the WRC-12 decisions on the 700 MHz allocation to the mobile service become effective after next World Radiocommunication Conference in 2015 (WRC-15). It also enables the consolidation of national plans to carry out the Digital Switchover in the African region in conformity with the deadlines of June 2015 (for UHF) and June 2020 (for VHF in about half of the countries) adopted by RRC-06.
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