4G LTE blessing to African economies

The current Long-Term Evolution (LTE) base in Africa is low; the continent accounts for less than 1 per cent of the global 4G base at the end of 2015. Around half of the African subscription base actively uses data – but only around 2 per cent of those use 4G devices.

By available estimates, Africa is sitting on around 5bn US Dollars worth of 4G spectrum and over the next 18 months, markets from Egypt to South Africa, Nigeria, Senegal and others will sell or seek to value a trove of frequencies that will pave the way for next generation digital services.

According to the 2016 Africa 4G Spectrum Value Report, Africa is at the very inception of a phase of strong 4G growth.

Estimates predict strong LTE growth for Africa

The report reckons that African countries are sitting on around USD 5 billion of 4G spectrum – based on valuation on market benchmark basis, not actual economic value. Rather than waiting for uncertain regulatory licensing schedules, operators are deploying what they legally can.

The median market value of the 800 MHz band has increased nearly ten times from its initial Code-Division Multiple Access (CDMA)-focused days. It is projected that over the next 18 months, markets from Egypt to South Africa, Nigeria, Senegal and others will sell or seek to value a trove of 4G frequencies that will pave the way for next generation digital services.

And yet, even as they seek to precisely assess the value of the 4G spectrum on offer, buyers and sellers alike have surprisingly few independent tools for intra-African spectrum transaction benchmarking and value analysis.

The 4G Spectrum value report provides such a tool.

It provides an extensive 3G and 4G Africa transaction and benchmark value table; it shows why 4G spectrum is valued higher than 3G in Africa; why operator 3G spectrum returns were terrible, but operators still need to take the leap into 4G despite the prices; what value ranges are put on 4G spectrum in South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt and other markets and why for some operators, the spectrum assets are more valuable than their business operations and more.

Regarded as the best technology in the world’s telecommunication industry with a seamless Internet access, 4G LTE technology is about five times faster than 3G technology and TigoTanzania is extensively working on improving the quality of service and 4G network as the consumer intake is increasing at a very fast pace.

Currently, Tigo has a team working around the clock to maintain and enhance the 4G quality. As a result, the 4G network has been optimized in all the existing 4G cities (Arusha, Tanga, Dodoma, Morogoro, Moshi and Mwanza).

The 4G LTE network provide faster internet speed to surf and download content, in making uninterrupted Skype calls. With the recent launch of free video with YouTube at night the 4G LTE significantly enhances the customer experience in video streaming in high definition. Again, with our partnership with Facebook, our 4G customer can also enjoy free streaming of videos embedded in the world’s most famous social media.

With the 4G LTE, the consumer can download big files (movies, work related documents) or applications as well as playing interactive games online. Tigo recently announced the launch of its 4G LTE service to five more cities namely Tabora, Musoma, Bukoba, Kigoma and Shinyanga.

Speaking at a press conference in Dar es Salaam, Tigo General Manager, Diego Gutierrez, said the planned expansion of 4G technology to all corners of the country is in line with the telecom’s commitment to give its customers world class services that enable them to enjoy a fully digital lifestyle.

“The countrywide expansion of 4G once again demonstrates not only Tigo’s leadership in delivering cutting edge technology and innovation in this market but also emphasizes our commitment to increase access to the Internet to as many Tanzanians as possible,” Mr Gutierrez said.

The company first launched the service in Dar es Salaam early last year before expanding to Arusha, Tanga, Dodoma, Morogoro, Moshi and Mwanza, effectively making it the mobile operator with the fastest and widest 4G LTE network in Tanzania.

In 2016 Tigo will be investing over US$ 75 million on the network expansion and quality improvement by scaling up its 4G and 3G sites, fiber network as well as increasing the number of customer service outlets countrywide.

“As a company we have realized the importance of quality and proximity for our customers and we are working towards achieving these goals in the near future,” Mr Gutierrez explained.

“We are also currently embarking on a network modernization program which includes increasing the 4G capacity to all the 12 cities where we have 4G as well as increasing considerably the 3G coverage countrywide,” Gutierrez added and asked Tigo customers in Mbeya, Mtwara and Lindi to be ready to start enjoying Tigo 4G LTE services in the near future.

In the past three years the company has launched over 500 network sites bring to over 2000 the total of its network sites. It plans to double its investment by 2017 in terms of coverage and additional capacity networks for deeper penetration in rural areas.


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