Technology systems to bolster African governments’ ability to manage the telecoms sector
By Gwyneth Rose
The governments of emerging and African countries are losing significant amounts of much-needed telecoms revenue due to the lack of appropriate telecoms monitoring systems, telecoms fraud—estimated to cost operators an estimated US$40 billion in losses globally— and also because telecoms regulatory authorities do not have full and real-time visibility over the whole of the interconnection traffic handled by local operators and international carriers.
Another important factor is the reliance on purely self-declaratory systems as the basis for invoicing network operators.
The liberalisation of telecommunications in African emerging countries has brought with it both challenges and opportunities.
After the opening up of the telecommunications sector, governments were faced with the problem of how to regulate the private sector telecommunications operators—sophisticated technology is needed to manage the complex and enormous volumes of data that this involves.
An system to manage interconnections is needed to provide governments and telecoms regulatory authorities with real-time visibility over all the interconnection traffic handled by local operators and international carriers.
Considering the huge revenue losses suffered by African and other countries due to bypass and other forms of fraud—revenue which is sorely needed for socio-economic development it is clear that if they were armed with an Interconnection Management System to bolster their monitoring activities, African countries could manage and regulate the telecoms sector—to ensure fair competition, transparency, revenue verification, good market practices and good governance.
Accurate verification of all telecoms transactions and the capture of all telecommunications usage would reveal the total actual turnover of the telecoms operators, provide the basis for an accurate determination of the revenues due to the government and the licensing fees and taxes related to the turnover.
In many other countries, revenue streams from telecommunications have been used to improve and relieve pressing needs. They have been used, inter alia, to improve education and health systems, to finance infrastructure, to improve security, to improve the lot of the very poor, to improve communication and to combat diseases prevalent in emerging countries.
Countries such as Congo, Gabon, Guinea, Liberia, Senegal, Rwanda Tanzania and Central African Republic are some of the countries that have placed specific micro contributions on telecoms transactions to raise money for their own development priorities.
At the same time they are tools to assure those revenues while, at the same time providing visibility over the whole telecoms sector for regulatory and compliance purposes.
As long as countries remain without effective telecoms traffic monitoring systems, they will continue to lose valuable telecoms revenues so desperately needed for the economic and social advancement of their countries.
Efficient and cutting-edge ICT technology systems benefit both government and operators alike. It is therefore crucial to block the leakages, prevent fraud and stop losing significant amounts of revenue which countries can ill-afford.
About the Author
Gwyneth is a communications consultant and writer for media. Gwyneth’s passion is to write about solutions on how African countries can stimulate their economies through the use of innovative finance and cutting edge technology. She is passionate about African politics and what drives policy making.