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South Africa: Regulator urges to approve Spectrum Auction

 |  February 16, 2016

South Africa must end years of deliberation and approve the auction of radio spectrum so mobile-network operators can roll out high-speed broadband services to communities across the country, the telecommunications regulator said.

“Everybody we have spoken to wants the auction,” Pakamile Pongwana, chief executive officer of the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa, said in an interview in Cape Town on Tuesday. “Every 10 percent increase in broadband connectivity leads to about a 1 percent growth in GDP. The further we fall behind in rolling out broadband, the lower our GDP growth will be.”

South Africa’s four mobile-network operators, Vodacom Group Group and Telkom SA SOC Ltd., have asked the government to release the spectrum so they can expand high-speed broadband services to more customers and increase revenue. The ruling African National Congress has pledged to extend broadband access to every South African household by the end of the decade.

A potential auction of spectrum has been in the pipeline since at least 2006, according to Dominic Cull, regulatory adviser to the Internet Service Providers’ Association.

“As people started using more data and downloading videos, the need for spectrum has significantly intensified,” Cull said by phone. “We have literally been talking about this for 10 years. The need for the allocation of this spectrum is beyond urgent.”

Full content: IOL

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