Government to start allocating “high-demand” spectrum

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This morning President Cyril Ramaphosa outlined an economic stimulus and recovery plan for South Africa.

It’s no secret that the economy is currently in a tail spin headed toward terra-firma.

“In recent months, the structural weaknesses in our economy have been made worse by global factors such as a rising oil price, weakening sentiment towards emerging markets and deteriorating trade relations between the US and other major economies. This has negatively affected South Africans,” said Ramaphosa.

The president’s plan outlines a number of measures he hopes to implement immediately to ignite economic activity and restore investor confidence in South Africa.

Within in those plans was talk of the allocation of spectrum.

“Within the next few weeks, government will initiate the process for the allocation of high-demand radio spectrum to enable licensing. This will unlock significant value in the telecommunications sector, increase competition, promote investment and reduce data costs,” said the president.

While this is good news it also doesn’t tell us all that much. For instance what is “high-demand radio spectrum”? Are we talking about 4G or 5G?

If he is talking about the latter, great. Telecommunications companies have had to make do with the spectrum they were allocated ages ago. In the case of Vodacom, the last time spectrum was assigned was in 2004.

Licensing more spectrum means better coverage, less congestion on networks and better overall performance, especially in densely populated areas.

Should the president be talking about 5G hows he’s going to run into a roadblock. As we’ve mentioned before – 5G requires spectrum that is currently used to beam television to South Africans.

This having been said, 5G is not a priority and that’s what Ramaphosa is looking at – priorities.

“The central element of the economic stimulus and recovery plan is the reprioritisation of spending towards activities that have the greatest impact on economic growth, domestic demand and job creation, with a particular emphasis on township and rural economies, women and youth,” said the president.

You can read the full text of the president’s speech about his stimulus plan over on the Presidency’s website.


[Image – CC BY ND GovernmentZA]

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.