Well-known ICT sector businessman Andile Ngcaba has warned that South Africa’s mobile networks “risk redundancy” if they fail to develop innovative ways to benefit from over-the-top (OTT) technologies.
Ngcaba, speaking in his capacity as chairman of the Wi-Fi Forum of South Africa, warned that mobile networks could end up in museums if they fail to innovate.
“Telegraph equipment can now be found in museums because those firms didn’t innovate. Nobody wants our mobile networks to end up in museums because they didn’t recognise a market-disrupting technology as an opportunity,” Ngcaba said at a parliamentary meeting on OTT services on Tuesday.
Warning that moves to regulate OTT services would be misplaced, Ngcaba said: “The Internet cannot be governed and must be embraced.”
Far from being a threat, “OTT applications such as WhatsApp are motivating to Africa’s youth”, said Ngcaba.
“Every young person wants to develop the next WhatsApp and we should be encouraging the building and exporting of apps, not trying to wish them away in a spirit of complacency.”
He said there is no evidence that OTT services are harming the revenues of telecoms operators.
“Moves to regulate budget-friendly communication services like WhatsApp and Skype come at a time when consumers are set to be hit by further interest rate and cost of living increases,” he added.
Ngcaba is chairman of Dimension Data Middle East and Africa and is a former director-general of the department of communications (now telecoms & postal services). — (c) 2016 NewsCentral Media