In the last 10 years the South African telecommunications industry and government have failed miserably in providing consumers with the best broadband in terms of speed and quality, Alan Knott Craig, newly minted CEO of Cell C and former CEO of Vodacom, said today (19 April 2012).
Speaking at the National Integrated ICT Policy Colloquium hosted by the Department of Communications, Knott-Craig said that in the 1970s South Africa was rated in the top 10 in telecoms globally, and was number 1 in Africa.
However, South Africa’s position has slipped drastically and is certainly no longer first in Africa, Knott-Craig said.
Answering questions about what the ICT landscape would look like in 2030, Knott-Craig said that “2030 is going to be a data world.”
The cost, speed, and quality of data are going to be critical, and it isn’t something that can be done entirely by the private sector, Knott-Craig said.
“It has to be done in collaboration with government,” Knott-Craig said. “To roll out to rural areas we can’t roll out four sets of infrastructure to provide services.”
Knott-Craig said that even though he believes prices in SA are good, he believes they need to be at least half of what they are today.
“The next three years are going to be defining for us,” Knott-Craig said. “We aren’t going to be anywhere in 2030 if we don’t do something in the next few years.”
Knott-Craig said that to achieve the 2030 goals, resources must be allocated in a way that drives costs down, and competition must be encouraged and enhanced.