Forty-seven sub-Saharan African countries have agreed on frequency coordination for digital switchover in 2015.
Deadlines were set in 2006 by the Regional Radiocommunication Conference for UHF switchover by June 2015, with VHF networks in 33 countries set to close down by June 2020, according to a report in DigitalTVEurope.
According to the agreement, Africa will be the first region globally to be in a position – by 2015 – to allocate so-called digital dividend spectrum to mobile services in both the 700MHz and 800MHz bands, the report said.
African delegates were at the forefront of pushing for allocation of the 700MHz frequency band – currently used in Europe for digital-terrestrial broadcasts – to mobile applications at the 2012 World Radiocommunication Conference. The plan to make the second digital dividend available for mobile services is set to be implemented after the next conference in 2015.
Following a frequency coordination meeting in Nairobi in July, African countries have begun submitting official modifications to make the spectrum available.
“The objective was to enable African countries to allocate the digital dividend to mobile services in the band 694-862MHz, as a regionally harmonized implementation of the decisions taken at the World Radiocommunication Conference in 2012,” said François Rancy, director of the International Telecommunication Union’s Radiocommunication Bureau. “This objective was reached by replanning the spectrum requirements of TV broadcasting in the 470-694 MHz frequency band.”