Former MTN SA CEO Mteto Nyati said it was in their interest to reduce mobile data prices, but a lack of spectrum made it challenging.
Nyati made the statement before announcing his move to Altron.
“Given the challenges that our customers are facing with a shrinking amount of money that is available to them, we would like to see those prices coming down,” said Nyati.
“However, in our country we continue to have challenges around spectrum, where it is currently not allocated to us.”
He said additional spectrum would help the mobile operators drive down the cost to communicate in South Africa.
The allocation of spectrum is currently in limbo after the release of the National Integrated Information Communication Technology (ICT) Policy White Paper, which calls for a single open access mobile network.
The paper proposes that all unassigned high-demand spectrum be set aside for the new Wireless Open Access Network.
The paper also suggested the returning of assigned IMT spectrum, which will cause chaos in the local telecoms market.
Nyati said they proposed a hybrid model to replace the model suggested in the White Paper, which allows for a wholesale open access network and competition by network operators.
The hybrid model will see spectrum allocated to the wholesale network, while operators can still access unassigned high-demand spectrum for their networks.
“We have come up with a proposal which addresses the political objectives of the minister, and at the same time protects the industry and consumers,” said Nyati.