Expanding digital connectivity through satellite broadband in the 28 GHz band in Africa

Following our report on the use of 28 GHz (27.5-29.5 GHz) spectrum in the Asia Pacific region, this Plum paper considers the importance of the band for satellite use in Africa. With large parts of the continent not covered by existing telecommunications networks, next-generation high throughput satellite (HTS) systems are capable of delivering gigabit connectivity to remote areas and connecting those previously unconnected. The 28 GHz band is a key enabler to achieving this. For emerging African markets satellite deployments in the Ka-band can contribute to significant economic benefits through:

  • Broadband connectivity for unserved areas and communities,
  • Improvements in broadband service quality for underserved locations,
  • Wider choice of broadband and pricing options,
  • New applications and connectivity services for expanding market segments, such as land, aeronautical and maritime transport routes, through earth stations in motion (ESIM).

The provision of high-speed broadband connectivity via satellite to unserved regions in Africa can lead to an increase in GDP by up to 2.09% by 2030. The study also estimates the economic impacts for major African markets, considering how underserved populations may also benefit.

For policymakers and regulators, it is important to carefully assess the requirements of satellite and IMT in deciding on the future allocation of the 28 GHz band. They will need to consider the level of broadband infrastructure, the needs of those in unserved and underserved regions, emerging satellite fixed and mobile applications in other industry sectors such as aeronautical and maritime, and the associated economic value and trade-offs involved.