Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub has stated that if the government and ICASA gave it more spectrum, it could cut mobile data prices in half.
Joosub was speaking at the 2018 MyBroadband Conference about mobile data prices in South Africa.
Mobile operators like Vodacom have been begging the South African government for years for more spectrum, but these calls have fallen on deaf ears.
To provide cheaper data, Vodacom needs to “manufacture” data at a lower cost. To do this, it needs to roll out fibre to more base stations and receive more spectrum.
With more spectrum, Vodacom can manage its capacity better and invest more efficiently in its network.
At the moment, Vodacom needs to refarm spectrum and cannot invest optimally in its network.
If Vodacom received sufficient additional spectrum, it would rapidly roll out the necessary upgrades to its sites across the country and could reduce data prices by over 50%.
Joosub added that Vodacom is not afraid to invest in South Africa, and has put R9.2 billion into its local network this year.
“You have to put money in to see results,” said Joosub.
Fibre and IoT
Joosub also spoke about other aspect of their business, including fibre and IoT.
He said Vodacom is close to passing 70,000 homes with its fibre network, and the business is growing well.
They are looking to partner in the fibre space, however, and admitted that more investment from Vodacom was needed here.
In terms of IoT, Joosub said Vodacom has nearly 4 million SIMs in machines in South Africa, and they have 2,000 narrow-band IoT network sites in the country.