The leaders of some of South Africa’s biggest information and communications technology (ICT) companies, including the four mobile operators, have met and agreed that the only way of resolving the impasse over broadband spectrum allocation is through dialogue.
In a statement acceded to by the CEOs, they say they met recently to “understand and find mechanisms that they could recommend to the minister of telecommunications & postal services [Siyabonga Cwele] and [communications regulator]Icasa in order to attempt to resolve the current impasse between them”.
Cwele is suing Icasa after the regulator pressed ahead with plans to auction off access to spectrum in the 700MHz, 800MHz and 2,6GHz bands without waiting for government to finalise policy on how the spectrum should be allocated.
Vodacom and MTN have both said a spectrum auction is the most sensible way of allocating the spectrum, while government is said to be in favour of creating some sort of wholesale open-access network to open the market to smaller industry players.
The leaders who met were Cell C CEO Jose Dos Santos, Dark Fibre Africa chairman Pieter Uys, Dimension Data Middle East & Africa chairman Andile Ngcaba, Multisource chairman Paul Harris, MTN South Africa CEO Mteto Nyati, Neotel director Kennedy Memani, Smile Communications CEO Irene Charnley, Telkom CEO Sipho Maseko and Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub.
In their statement, they said: “Constructive dialogue between the parties in the right conciliatory spirit will be in the best interests of the country, the ICT sector, labour, consumers and the economy.
“This consultative process between the minister and Icasa should include all stakeholders, and would be the best way forward regarding the vital issue of licensing/issuing of spectrum in South Africa.” — © 2016 NewsCentral Media