Sentech should focus on rolling out digital terrestrial television (DTT) in South Africa and let the mobile community worry about mobile broadband networks, said Ross Bateson, special government adviser at GSM Association.
The state-owned signal distributor announced its plans to return to the South African wireless broadband space in 2010, after the spectacular failure of its MyWireless offering in 2009.
Bateson said that Sentech didn’t have the capacity or means to invest in a mobile broadband network and that they should let the mobile community roll out mobile networks.
Sentech’s plans for a wireless broadband network are also affecting the allocation of spectrum in the 2.6GHz band. The signal distributor is sitting on 50MHz of spectrum that is allocated in such a way so as to prevent the allocation of paired spectrum for LTE.
ICASA’s general manager of engineering and technology Dumisa Ngwenya said last year that maintaining the status quo in the 2.6GHz band is not an option.
However, all possible solutions to Sentech’s occupation of a large portion of the band involved moving their allocation to a different part of the band rather than rescinding some or all of their spectrum rights.
According to Bateson it would be perfectly possible for government to rescind the spectrum because of the DoC’s “use-it-or-lose-it” policy introduced in 2010, freeing the spectrum for use by other mobile operators.
Bateson added that if no sensible solution is found to this problem, then spectrum in the 1800 MHz band could be used to roll out LTE in South Africa. The 2.6GHz band is the most suitable for LTE technology.
Sentech should stay away from broadband: GSMA << Comments and views