South Africa’s mobile broadband future: your input needed

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) has called for comments on the Draft International Mobile Telephony (IMT) Roadmap.

In a statement released on Monday, 1 September 2014, Icasa said the roadmap seeks to ensure universal availability of broadband services, a vibrant and competitive telecommunications industry, and promote investments.

“The growing demand for mobile broadband in South Africa indicates a need for more mobile broadband bandwidth capacity in general,” Icasa said.

“It is generally known that many rural areas do not have access to mobile bandwidth indicating a need for a more universal mobile broadband coverage, a need best served by deploying lower frequencies that propagate a wider market,” the regulator added.

Icasa goes on to suggest that low frequency bands, such as those that will be freed up when South Africa migrates from analogue to digital terrestrial television, will be an important part of the roadmap.

This spectrum — commonly called the “Digital Dividend” — falls between the 700MHz and 800MHz frequency bands, and potentially the 450–470MHz band.

Icasa said that its consultation document aims to share its findings and draft proposals with regards to the roadmap for radio frequency spectrum for IMT and builds on the Frequency Migration Plan published in April 2013.

“The roadmap involves the migration of a number of current licensees out of (or within) bands identified for IMT services,” Icasa said. “For bands where costs and benefits of the migration were not straightforward, the Authority conducted further feasibility studies to determine the appropriateness of the migration.”

All interested stakeholders were requested to make their submissions by no later than close of business on 7 October 2014.

Enquiries may be referred to Mr Richard Makgotlho by e-mail – [email protected]

Icasa said that the draft IMT Roadmap document is available on its website (www.icasa.org.za).

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South Africa’s mobile broadband future: your input needed