Vodacom said on Thursday that there is no reason to delay the licensing of 5G spectrum in South Africa, arguing that its urgent allocation is needed if South Africa is going to take advantage of the fourth Industrial Revolution.
The Competition Commission plans to engage with Icasa on the planned licensing of 4G/LTE and future 5G spectrum to ensure there is “not only universal coverage but also (affordable) access”.
Released five years after Icasa tried to license access to the spectrum for broadband services, the final policy is not dissimilar to what the communications regulator originally intended.
Communications minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams has asked Icasa to ensure that preferential access to spectrum is given to a new wholesale open-access network while opening the way for spectrum to be released to commercial operators.
Vodacom reported a 1.2% year-on-year decline in service revenue in South Africa in the three months to end-June, with the company blaming new data regulations from Icasa and a switch in roaming partners.