By Bulelani Phillip
JOHANNESBURG, Feb 4– Cellphone operators in South Africa want the government and the regulator, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa), to create certainty in the policy and regulatory framework.
The companies say that any further uncertainty will result in delayed investments and ultimately job losses. Parliament is currently hosting a two-day Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Indaba (dialogue) to look at ways to boost the digital economy, with a view to boost the sector and bringing broadband to all South Africans by 2020.
Cellphone operators want clarity on plans to share broadband infrastructure as well as the availability of the spectrum for broadband.
Joshua Moela from one of the operators, Cell C, said Tuesday: “As operators, the level of uncertainty as to how the spectrum is going to be allocated causes delays in terms of investment decisions that we need to take.”
Themba Kinana from Vodacom said: “It makes it difficult for us to even connect in rural areas to broaden the base in terms of the work that we do.”
Icasa has acknowledged the delays saying that South Africa is behind on the high demand of spectrum and digital migration.
Cellphone companies have also warned that energy shortages currently being experienced will lead to increased costs, which will eventually be passed on to the consumer.