September 6th, 2018

The Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation to build Commonwealth consensus in advance of the World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-19) 2019

MAURITIUS, 5 September 2018 -On the opening day of the Commonwealth Spectrum Management Forum’18, Honourable Mr Yogida Sawmynaden, Minister of Technology, Communication and Innovation, Republic of Mauritius, Mr Mahmad Aleem Bocus, Chaiman, ICT Authority, Republic of Mauritius and Mrs Gisa Fuatai Purcell, Acting Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO), led calls for Commonwealth contribution in advance of WRC-19, to promote efficient use of spectrum utilisation to achieve universal broadband access and support growth of current technologies. The forum takes place at the Intercontinental Hotel, Balaclava in Mauritius on 4 – 6 October 2018. The event is convened to enable international bodies, policymakers, telecoms regulators and experts from across the Commonwealth to come together and share experiences in spectrum management.

“Given that our spectrum is, in fact, the core resource for provision of Internet and digital services, it is imperative that it is managed as rationally and scientifically as possible,” said Honourable Yogida Sawmynaden. “I am pleased to note that the deliberations of this f orum will also evolve around the deployment of 5G, dynamic spectrum sharing and the preparation towards the World Radio Communication Conference (WRC-19). Despite the fact that Mauritius is an island the agenda items of the WRC-19 are fully of relevance to us, in particular, the agenda items related to the identification of frequency bands for the deployment of 5G and also Maritime issues.”

Minister Sawmynaden was speaking at the opening ceremony on day one of the event alongside Mahmad Aleem Bocus, Chairman, Information and Communication Technologies Authority (ICTA), Joaquin Restrepo, Chief of Outreach and Publication Services Division, International Telecommunication Union (ITU) on behalf of Mr François Rancy, Director, Radiocommunication Bureau, ITU, Gisa Fuatai Purcell, Acting Secretary-General and Director of the ICT Development Department, Commonwealth Telecommunication Organisation (CTO) and Bhooneshwari Kissoon-Luckputtya, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Technology, Communication and Innovation, Republic of Mauritius.

“What we most want is to tap into the inherent potential of sound spectrum management. A well-managed natural resource, scarce resource in fact, can transform the lives of each end-user in line with the government vision to transform Mauritius into a smart island,” said Mr Bocus. “Challenges are definitely ahead. And it has been aptly called the DYNAMIC challenge. For by its very nature, spectrum is dynamic. Exploiting it for the greater good requires skill, commitment, technical prowess and vision. I believe this forum will do justice to this challenge.

“Harmonizing the use of spectrum for mass applications will require global coordination to adequately treat legacy issues, in order to facilitate the migration of networks using obsolete technologies towards new, harmonized frequency plans. This aspect will also need to be integrated to the studies at regional level and in the ITU-R study groups to ensure global consensus on these frequency plans,” said Joaquin Restrepo.

The theme of the Commonwealth Spectrum Management Forum’18 is Resolving access accessibility and affordability – the dynamic spectrum challenge with discussions also covering subjects such as the future of broadcasting and spectrum implications, efficient spectrum utilisation, spectrum auctions, 5G issues and spectrum requirements and planning for the world radiocommunication conference (WRC) in 2019. The event is hosted by the Ministry of Technology Communication and Innovation and the Information and Communication Technologies Authority of Mauritius, with industry participants including GSMA, EMEA Satellite Operator’s Association (ESOA), and Avanti with country delegations from Botswana, Kingdom of Eswatini, Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Seychelles, Rwanda, Independent Sate of Samoa, Tanzania and Uganda.

The CTO is mandated to coordinate ICT activities across the Commonwealth,” Mrs Gisa Fuatai Purcell said in the opening ceremony. “As leaders, we know the world is moving towards Internet of Things or IOT and Artificial Intelligence among others, which is powered largely by 5G technology, and therefore we need to think clearly about making decisions that will improve the revenue of government which can be used for moving countries towards the future. We will explore a range of options to help achieve more efficient use of this vital natural resource – spectrum as spectrum will underpin universal broadband and future technologies. We will increase our role in this important area as the international community strives to ensure that spectrum facilitates socio-economic development throughout the Commonwealth. More importantly, the spectrum needs of least developing countries, small island developing countries and landlocked developing countries must be taken into account

For more information please contact The Communications Team, or +44 20 8600 3820.

About the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation

The Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) is the oldest and largest Commonwealth intergovernmental organisation in the field of information and communication technologies. With a diverse membership spanning developed and least developed countries, small island developing states, and more recently also the private sector and civil society, the CTO aims to become a trusted partner for sustainable development for all through ICTs.