COMESA: Governments should subsidise telco infrastructure

03 November 2022

The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) has urged member state governments to subsidize the construction of telecommunications infrastructure, particularly for MNOs, in order to provide better quality services at affordable costs.

“We are developing guidelines on infrastructure sharing. These are some of the questions we try to address. In fact, some countries in the region have granted licenses to operators to use the same,” said Jean Baptiste Mutabazi, director of infrastructure and logistics at COMESA. He added that operators could also consider colocation of their transmitters on the same tower to further reduce costs.

The Malawi government is contributing to investment in telecommunications infrastructure through the Universal Service Fund (USF), a strategic programme promoting the uptake of ICT services in rural and underserved areas. USF is, among other things, used to largely subsidize investment in towers in areas that may be considered unmarketable by telecommunications or broadcasting companies for the deployment of their services.