South Africa: Communication Department and ICT stakeholders discuss spectrum licensing
5 April 2019
Earlier this week, Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams and her deputy, Pinky Kekana, met with stakeholders from the ICT (Information and Communication Technology) industry to finalise consultations on their interpretation of the spectrum licensing process as defined by the law.
This follows a written submission was previously made by stakeholders in the sector on the matter.
According to SA News, the parties agreed that the spectrum policy directive and licensing process must be swifty finalised as it will help to propel the industry forward, as well as enable effective delivery of the Fourth Industrial Revolution imperatives that require wireless networks as connectivity enablers.
“Since the advent of mobile broadband, spectrum has turned out to be both a competitive and an anti-competitive tool for incumbent network operators and a barrier to entry for new entrants. Some spectrum lies un-utilised in the time or space and we would like to change that by making sure that spectrum is effectively and efficiently licensed in order to address not only revenue generation, but to also ensure inclusive participation,” said Ndabeni-Abrahams.
The Minister added that while stakeholders might not agree on all aspects as contained in the Electronic Communications Act (ECA), they must strive to find consensus that ensures that high demand spectrum is eventually licensed.
She continued that common ground should be reached between the policy makers and the regulator to ensure the process is concluded and spectrum is duly allocated timeously.
“Government cannot be excluded from this important process of spectrum licensing given the strategic implications of spectrum not only in the sector but in the economy as a whole,” concluded Ndabeni-Abrahams.
While all the parties appear to agree that getting the allocation of high-capacity spectrum sorted promptly is a priority, there is still no word on when said allocation will happen. As such many are still waiting for the Communications Department to deliver on their end.