08.08.2019

What is the IDIA?

The International Digital Infrastructure Alliance is a new name in the telecom sector. However, our presence and mission should hardly be a surprise, the formation of an industry alliance and global body representing towercos was long-overdue – but what is IDIA and what are its aims and objectives? 

Today there has become an urgent need for an independent organisation for towercos in communicating with emerging markets. The genesis of IDIA was established just over a year ago through the collaboration of IFC and key players with special interest in developing markets. We have moved quickly to open up the organisation to the ecosystem because of the growing need for a unified voice in digital infrastructure for the 5G Era.

This need is driven primarily by rapid changes in technology within the telecom ecosystem, and the complex nature of regulatory policy around the world.

Without a precedent set for regulatory policy anywhere – not nationally, nor regionally – any Towerco working in emerging markets, such as South America, South Asia and Africa, will face the problem of increasing complexities in regulatory regimes.

Not only this, but telecom technology has been changing at a rapid pace, from 3G to 4G, and now to 5G – and at each stage this has caused added complexities, resulting in increased regulatory intervention at every level.

The fact is, that there is no aligned approach to regulation nationally, or in regions and municipalities where policy can differ dramatically. To tackle the issue, IDIA is creating a database of unique data from emerging markets to support negotiations between towercos and regulators, and to build up information on global best practice in areas such as taxation, tower siting, licensing and more. Crucially our data will show the outcomes and benefits of each regulatory system, so that we can use this evidence as a reference point in discussions with governments and regulators.

IDIA has behind it some of the leading global emerging market towercos in the industry. Our CEO Chuck Green, brings years of knowledge and his wealth of experience in the sector to IDIA. In conjunction with this we have some of the leading telecom analysts who will be gathering detailed information from emerging markets that has not been widely available until now.

Critically we also have the backing of IFC, the World Bank, the largest development financial organisation in the world. The IFC has been a long-time supporter of IDIA, helping to set-up the organisation and committing to involvement in the regional activities of the alliance.

The IFC holds the view, as we do, that there is a positive relationship between density of telecommunications and broadband, and GDP growth. Towercos can help to deliver this growth, but we need the industry and regulators to better understand why the model works for developing economies.

Today, IDIA brings an international perspective to what is turning out to be regional discussions with regulators on digital infrastructure. And we are leveraging our global voice to create a better understanding of the benefits of towercos in the telecom ecosystem now and in the future.