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African mobile market threatened by uncertain investment environment

07 февраля 2012

Cooperation between governments and operators has driven significant growth in the African mobile industry over the past decade. However, there are no guarantees that this growth will continue and, according to a new report from Booz & Company, a number of issues must be addressed as the continent moves towards the next phase of mobile development.

"Seasoned investors are taking an increasingly hard look at further investments in Africa because of extreme pricing pressure, an increasingly unattractive investment environment, and continued regulatory risk," said Booz & Company in a report published on Monday.

The company warned that hesitancy on the part of investors could jeopardise the next wave of telecoms investment and growth in Africa, a key part of which will be mobile broadband services.

"Stakeholders, however, can act quickly and decisively to ensure the climate for investment is maintained, and that growth continues," the firm said, noting that all the players in the value chain have a part to play.

According to Booz & Company, it is up to governments to build investor confidence by implementing ICT-friendly policies and establishing open and independent regulatory regimes. It highlights the Kenya Open Data initiative, a project launched last year to make government data easily available online, as a benchmark for transparency of information and open policy setting.

The regulators themselves are also encouraged to define policy in a transparent fashion, and to treat telecoms operators "as the enablers of the economy, and not simply a source of tax-like revenues".

The operators too are charged with some key tasks, including sharing infrastructure to maximise efficiencies, and entering into dialogue with regulators and governments to push for technology-neutral spectrum licensing.

"If the relationship between operators and governments holds, the African telecommunications success story will drive forward," said David Tusa, partner with Booz & Company.

"If it fails, Africa will miss a critical opportunity for economic and social development as the telecommunications industry and its investors move on to more accommodating markets," he warned.


Источник: Total Telecom

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