Government has finalised consultations with the telecommunications industry and other stakeholders to ensure allocation of spectrum reduces costs to consumers, promotes competition and eases barriers to entry.
“Government has recently decided to accelerate the licensing of the radio frequency spectrum in the 2.6GHz, 700MHz and 800MHz bands to hasten the growth of mobile communications,” President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Monday.
Addressing the International Telecommunication Union’s Telecom World conference in Durban, Ramaphosa said communications regulator Icasa is now preparing to license available high-demand spectrum suitable for rolling out mobile broadband networks.
In addition, South Africa has begun work in preparation for 5G spectrum licensing as part of its efforts to build a smarter digital economy.
Ramaphosa said the digital revolution must respond to the needs of the developing world. “It must assist in overcoming unemployment, not exacerbate it. It must bridge the digital divide, not widen it.
“As our economies become increasingly dependent on information and communication technology, it is critical that governments work more closely with industry to maximise the value of digital innovations” he said.
The president said leaders had a task to ensure that the so-called fourth Industrial Revolution improves the human condition and that no one is left behind.
“We firmly believe that there is a strong correlation between innovation and growth. South Africa recently embarked on an investment drive to attract US$100-billion in new investment in the country over the next five years,” he said.
“We are determined that the ICT sector be an integral part of this investment drive, with a focus on infrastructure investment, e-commerce, local manufacturing of equipment and innovation.”
Ramaphosa said it’s important for Africa and developing countries to share manufacturing and localisation opportunities to allow equal access and shared growth throughout the world.
“We continue to champion the Internet as a tool for social and economic development. We support universal broadband and universal broadcasting to connect all citizens and ensure that they have access to information,” he said. — SANews