The biggest roadblock – according to telecommunications providers – when it comes to 5G is access to the spectrum the technology needs.
Last week Vodacom told us that unless government releases this, South Africa would be playing catch up with the rest of the world.
It appears as if government is starting to get that 5G train rolling. President Cyril Ramaphosa speaking at the ITU Telecom World 2018 conference yesterday said that government would be pushing things along.
“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,” the president said.
As you might recall for our story last week, that 700MHz spectrum is vital for coverage in a 5G network.
The president added that it is critical that government works closely with the industry (telcos in this case) to maximise the value of innovations such as 5G.
“We firmly believe that there is a strong correlation between innovation and growth. South Africa recently embarked on an investment drive to attract $100 billion in new investment in the country over the next five year,” said Ramaphosa.
“We are determined that the ICT sector be an integral part of this investment drive, with a focus on infrastructure investment, ecommerce, local manufacturing of equipment, and innovation,” he added.
The primary goal of fast tracking this access to spectrum, according to the president, is to lower the barriers to entry into the telco sector while also bridging the digital divide.
This is positive news and we’re glad to see government joining the chorus of voices calling for greater innovation.
Let’s hope that we see the president’s words come to fruition soon.