ITU panel on challenges for digital transformation

Today, Dr. Christoph Stork from RIS moderated the ITU Workshop on “Economic and fiscal incentives to accelerate digital transformation of data and applications over telecommunication infrastructure”. Dr. Stork provided an overview of the impact of OTTs on telco revenues and profitability, how to measure progress towards a faster Internet and the impact of taxation on broadband. One of the slides shows how quickly data speeds and latencies are evolving and consumers demand more data-intensive applications like video and augmented reality and artificial intelligence. Mobile broadband download speeds have increased by 150% in just 4 years. Upload speeds are lagging, but these should improve quickly as more 5G becomes available and operators start to segment their offerings according to how the speed that consumers demand.  

Also on the panel was Dr. Raul Katz from Telecom Advisory Services, who presented on “Fiscal incentives to accelerate digital transformation and economic growth”. Dr. Katz presented research showing, for example, that a 1% increase in CAPEX translates into a broadband coverage gain of between 0.24%- 0.66%, with a 2-period lag and 1% increase in coverage results in 0.43% decrease in prices. 

Other news from around Africa
  • Zambia’s government complains about poor network connectivity: The Minister of Science and Technology has said that the sector requires a “reboot” to improve its performance. Hopefully this signals a different approach to network coverage in Zambia because the previous government (and ZICTA) had a poor record of interfering in the sector, spending large amounts of money to little or no benefit: Building mobile base stations in the middle of nowhere and demanding that MNOs take them over is one example. 
  • Cameroon warns MNOs about quality of service: The telecom regulator has threatened to fine MNOs because of poor quality of service. The irony is that the state is one of the reasons for this poor service, with a poor tax regime and frequent Internet outages.