Department of Communications publishes spectrum policy

Jamie McKane

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Department of Communications publishes spectrum policy

After a series of delays, the Department of Communications has published its policy on high-demand spectrum.

According to communications minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, a large portion of the high-demand spectrum will be assigned to the Wholesale Open Access Network (WOAN).
 

dominic

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This directive was first outlined in the Electronic Communications Act last year.......
This directive was first outlined in a set of draft policy directions published under the Electronic Communications Act last year....

A tranche of spectrum is to be assigned first to the WOAN, and the policy adds that only once this has been assigned will mobile networks have access to the scarce resource.
this is not correct. the spectrum processes must "commence simultaneously"

what is an issue is that before you get to the spectrum licensing processes for the WOAN and everyone else you have to go through a process to issue a licence to applicants to operate the WOAN.....highly unlikely to be a quick process
 

Swa

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The idea behind a WOAN is good. It would be most effective in rural areas with the digital dividend. Operators don't really want that spectrum but they want it easier to roll out in less lucrative areas. It would solve both problems. I just don't trust it to go right and it will end up being another Infraco.

I still say the best way forward is to assign it to multiple smaller geographic operators and have the networks roam on each other.
 

Chris.Geerdts

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The article talks about 400 applicants etc. I think what it should say is that the current licensees will all be able to re-sell services provided by the WOAN, not that they will be part of the WOAN.
 

system32

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The idea behind a WOAN is good. It would be most effective in rural areas with the digital dividend. Operators don't really want that spectrum but they want it easier to roll out in less lucrative areas. It would solve both problems. I just don't trust it to go right and it will end up being another Infraco.

I still say the best way forward is to assign it to multiple smaller geographic operators and have the networks roam on each other.
Citation / proof needed for why you think WOAN is good.

1.WOAN has not worked anywhere it's been tried.

2.Rural coverage by existing networks is actually quite good in ZA.

3.ZA has terrible record with SOE (Eskom, SAA, Denel, etc). What makes WOAN any different?

4.Who's going to fund the infrastructure - Taxpayer .

5. why should taxpayer pay for infrastructure that MTN, Vodacom, Telkom, Cell-C, Neotel, RAIN will use? These are rich companies.

6.Existing networks already share / roam so case for WOAN sharing is mute.

WOAN will fail and cost taxpayers money.
 

Swa

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Citation / proof needed for why you think WOAN is good.

1.WOAN has not worked anywhere it's been tried.

2.Rural coverage by existing networks is actually quite good in ZA.

3.ZA has terrible record with SOE (Eskom, SAA, Denel, etc). What makes WOAN any different?

4.Who's going to fund the infrastructure - Taxpayer .

5. why should taxpayer pay for infrastructure that MTN, Vodacom, Telkom, Cell-C, Neotel, RAIN will use? These are rich companies.

6.Existing networks already share / roam so case for WOAN sharing is mute.

WOAN will fail and cost taxpayers money.
1. Need citation for that.
2. Yet almost everyone in the rural areas are complaining. Every single network in this country has neglected the rural areas.
3. See my post above.
4.5. Those who use it.
6. No they don't share. A few specific roaming agreements isn't national roaming.

Did I say anything different. It's a good thing if it was managed by anyone different than the ANC.
 

Chris.Geerdts

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The idea behind a WOAN is good. It would be most effective in rural areas with the digital dividend. Operators don't really want that spectrum but they want it easier to roll out in less lucrative areas. It would solve both problems. I just don't trust it to go right and it will end up being another Infraco.

I still say the best way forward is to assign it to multiple smaller geographic operators and have the networks roam on each other.
How do you see the WOAN being profitable?

Re your second idea, google USAL and see where that takes you
 

Geoff.D

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Citation / proof needed for why you think WOAN is good.

1.WOAN has not worked anywhere it's been tried. ---
2.Rural coverage by existing networks is actually quite good in ZA.
3.ZA has terrible record with SOE (Eskom, SAA, Denel, etc). What makes WOAN any different?
4.Who's going to fund the infrastructure - Taxpayer .
5. why should taxpayer pay for infrastructure that MTN, Vodacom, Telkom, Cell-C, Neotel, RAIN will use? These are rich companies.
6.Existing networks already share / roam so case for WOAN sharing is mute.
7. WOAN will fail and cost taxpayers money.
1. Agreed very poor track record elsewhere
2. Huh? The exact opposite vast areas completely without coverage of any sort
3. The ONLY successful SOE is in the telecomms arena.
4. Not a given could be jointly funded by existing and potential licence holders
5. see 4.
6. Huh? poor to terrible roaming services across companies.
7. Unless extremely well structured and managed the idea will fail - must learn lessons from the failed attempts eslewhere. Does not have to be at taxpayer expense.
 

Swa

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How do you see the WOAN being profitable?

Re your second idea, google USAL and see where that takes you
Depends on what your goal is.

No idea what you're trying to say. All I get is some foreign language universities and food. /shrugs
 

system32

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1. Need citation for that.
2. Yet almost everyone in the rural areas are complaining. Every single network in this country has neglected the rural areas.
3. See my post above.
4.5. Those who use it.
6. No they don't share. A few specific roaming agreements isn't national roaming.

Did I say anything different. It's a good thing if it was managed by anyone different than the ANC.
1. Agreed very poor track record elsewhere
2. Huh? The exact opposite vast areas completely without coverage of any sort
3. The ONLY successful SOE is in the telecomms arena.
4. Not a given could be jointly funded by existing and potential licence holders
5. see 4.
6. Huh? poor to terrible roaming services across companies.
7. Unless extremely well structured and managed the idea will fail - must learn lessons from the failed attempts eslewhere. Does not have to be at taxpayer expense.
1. WOAN tried in Kenya, Mexico and Russia - all failed
https://www.itweb.co.za/content/R8OKdWqD1y3vbznQ

2. I've traveled lots in ZA and always had coverage - I have Dual SIM - MTN & Cell-C
14 January 2019: Vodacom has 80% population coverage with 4G/LTE
Its 3G and 2G population coverage is 99.78% and 99.97% respectively, it said.
27 November 2018 : MTN currently has more than 11,000 LTE sites which brought its 4G population coverage in the country up to 90%.
MTN’s total population coverage using 2G technology has reached 99%, while the figure for 3G is 98%.

Between the 2 major networks it looks like ZA population pretty well covered by 4G and 3G
Sure there are areas with no coverage - were no one lives.

@Geoff.D,
3. Any private company given the exclusive and monopoly and taxpayer balance sheet should have done 1000x better.
Considering the damage they did to ZA, I would consider it a fail.

4.5. First taxpayers will pay for the infrastructure.
Based on ZA govt with SOE - it's 99% probably going to fail.

6. Roaming is sharing - there are some technical issues - these do get resolved.

Government should govern and regulate and get out of competing with private companies.
WOAN is a clear case of Govt competing with networks.
 

Geoff.D

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Maybe because I have spent lots of time deliberately looking for areas with poor coverage I know more about the coverage issue. The network claims are all exaggerated marketing BS designed to disguise the shortcomings.
And no Telkom IS still the most successful SOE telecom operation in the country despite all attempts to cripple it.
and Yes IF the WOAN is in the hands of this country's ANC led govt it is doomed. But the idea of a common network could work IF the good is taken out of the idea and the bad is not implemented.
As to roaming --- it all started pretty well in the beginning. But when corporate greed took over the logical processes needed to implement roaming properly, things quickly fell apart. Roaming needs a mindset change to implement. And so will the WOAN idea or a derivative of the concept.
Currently as probably proposed by those idiots in charge of DoC it is doomed.
 
Last edited:

Johnatan56

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1. WOAN tried in Kenya, Mexico and Russia - all failed
https://www.itweb.co.za/content/R8OKdWqD1y3vbznQ

2. I've traveled lots in ZA and always had coverage - I have Dual SIM - MTN & Cell-C
14 January 2019: Vodacom has 80% population coverage with 4G/LTE
Its 3G and 2G population coverage is 99.78% and 99.97% respectively, it said.
27 November 2018 : MTN currently has more than 11,000 LTE sites which brought its 4G population coverage in the country up to 90%.
MTN’s total population coverage using 2G technology has reached 99%, while the figure for 3G is 98%.

Between the 2 major networks it looks like ZA population pretty well covered by 4G and 3G
Sure there are areas with no coverage - were no one lives.

@Geoff.D,
3. Any private company given the exclusive and monopoly and taxpayer balance sheet should have done 1000x better.
Considering the damage they did to ZA, I would consider it a fail.

4.5. First taxpayers will pay for the infrastructure.
Based on ZA govt with SOE - it's 99% probably going to fail.

6. Roaming is sharing - there are some technical issues - these do get resolved.

Government should govern and regulate and get out of competing with private companies.
WOAN is a clear case of Govt competing with networks.
1. CETIN Czech, but via private and not government
Telecom Italia, but not pure wholesale and includes fixed line
BT Openreach (UK), again, unsure if pure. @Dave could probably inform us in August when he gets unbanned.


WOAN itself is not a question, it will all converge there since it's the lowest cost to provide, the question is how long it will take while there are still easy profits to be had by being vertical.
 

Swa

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1. WOAN tried in Kenya, Mexico and Russia - all failed
https://www.itweb.co.za/content/R8OKdWqD1y3vbznQ
So all some backwards corrupt countries being held up as a gold standard. The irony is that the countries that need it most are the least capable of good governance to make it successful.

2. I've traveled lots in ZA and always had coverage - I have Dual SIM - MTN & Cell-C
And that probably says it all. The measuring stick is single network and when it comes to that there are a lot of areas with poor coverage. I also don't believe the figures reported to Icasa. It's easy to chart ideal conditions but real world tests show something completely different with lots of droped calls and signal that simply disappears in supposedly covered areas. "Population" coverage is also a dubious measure as we don't use our phones just remaining stationary so how it's determined who's covered and who's not is still a mystery.

4.5. First taxpayers will pay for the infrastructure.
Based on ZA govt with SOE - it's 99% probably going to fail.
And that is something I never disagreed with if you read my post. Fact is you're not separating the idea objectively from your emotions and the ineptitude surrounding it.

You're also wrong about Telkom. The balance sheet seems to indicate it's quite successful. It's also doing a much better job than the private sector atm with everyone's hero Vumatel showing much bigger monopolistic behaviour. Guess which one I'd choose. I'll give you a clue, one provides fibre for R399 while the other is R599 with a subsidised crippled connection available from some ISPs for R499.

6. Roaming is sharing - there are some technical issues - these do get resolved.
There is no mutual national roaming. There are a few specific agreements but they only end up making things more complicated. Not like the daysa when you could use either MTN or Vodacom and roam on both.

Government should govern and regulate and get out of competing with private companies.
WOAN is a clear case of Govt competing with networks.
Why I say it shouldn't be handled by government. It's simply not feasible for all networks to roll out coverage everywhere. So you either accept they will all have shortcomings or that have to roam on another network that provides complete coverage. The total cost is also much less in the latter case.
 

konfab

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You're also wrong about Telkom. The balance sheet seems to indicate it's quite successful. It's also doing a much better job than the private sector atm with everyone's hero Vumatel showing much bigger monopolistic behaviour. Guess which one I'd choose. I'll give you a clue, one provides fibre for R399 while the other is R599 with a subsidised crippled connection available from some ISPs for R499.
You are completely wrong about Telkom.
Mybb started because Telkom was being a completely useless POS in its offering.
They only started becoming semi-decent once they were listed on the JSE and became more independent from government.
 

dominic

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please internalise:

the WOAN will not be an SOE it will be privately held (although in the latest doc there is room for SOEs to be shareholders)
 

Geoff.D

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please internalise:

the WOAN will not be an SOE it will be privately held (although in the latest doc there is room for SOEs to be shareholders)
Hmmm, great to see you are still around!
You have been around for long enough to know that nothing that lot write and state in their documents ever means what it says.
 

dominic

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Hmmm, great to see you are still around!
You have been around for long enough to know that nothing that lot write and state in their documents ever means what it says.
still kicking...
sure, and the door has been opened for some state involvement, i am guessing held by the to-be-formed State ICT Infrastructure Company (i.e. Sentech + Infraco) as they have indicated they will prioritise the bill to get this established.
 

Chris.Geerdts

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please internalise:

the WOAN will not be an SOE it will be privately held (although in the latest doc there is room for SOEs to be shareholders)
Good point. A lot of people have missed that point. I'm not sure about Sentech/BBI but other consortia will presumably only respond to this if they can see a business case for it
 

Chris.Geerdts

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Depends on what your goal is.

No idea what you're trying to say. All I get is some foreign language universities and food. /shrugs
Just to be clear. You indicate that the WOAN should provide rural coverage and I agree with that, but I ask about profitability because if the WOAN doesn't get a piece of the action with urban coverage, no-one will invest in it.

On the USALs, here is a link https://mybroadband.co.za/forum/threads/usals-in-deep-trouble.38953/

USALs were supposed to sort out all our woes for rural coverage, over 10 years ago. 27 were earmarked for licensing and R5m subsidy set aside for each. By 2006: money gone, USALs gone, no coverage ...
 

Swa

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Just to be clear. You indicate that the WOAN should provide rural coverage and I agree with that, but I ask about profitability because if the WOAN doesn't get a piece of the action with urban coverage, no-one will invest in it.

On the USALs, here is a link https://mybroadband.co.za/forum/threads/usals-in-deep-trouble.38953/

USALs were supposed to sort out all our woes for rural coverage, over 10 years ago. 27 were earmarked for licensing and R5m subsidy set aside for each. By 2006: money gone, USALs gone, no coverage ...
Well who's fault is that exactly? That is an example that actually works in other countries with proper governance. No reason they can't make a profit in underserviced areas and with the the inclusion of white space they could do it at less cost. But we're 10 years late in issuing the required spectrum.
 
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