WBS LTE spectrum negotiations ongoing

Wireless Business Solutions’ (WBS’s) unused spectrum is still up for grabs, and negotiations are still taking place at a boardroom level. This is according to WBS (the iBurst holding company) spokesperson Sheila Bhengu.

With the continued delays in spectrum assignment by ICASA, WBS’s (iBurst’s) unused 1800MHz spectrum – which can be used for LTE – has become a prized possession.

It is believed that a deal for WBS’s 1800MHz spectrum may run into a few million Rands per month, clearly showing the value of this spectrum.

Vodacom spokesperson Richard Boorman told MyBroadband that they are looking to find the best solution to deliver broadband services as widely as possible in South Africa. “As part of this we’ve had discussions with various stakeholders. This is still at the exploratory stage,” says Boorman.

iBurst CEO Thami Mtshali previously told MyBroadband that Vodacom will make a great 1800Mhz partner for WBS because the their spectrum bands sit next to each other.

Thami Mtshali
Thami Mtshali

Mtshali is however not putting all his eggs in one basket, and highlighted that they are in discussions with various parties regarding a potential partnership for their unused 1800MHz spectrum.

MTN is another logical 1800MHz partner for WBS, considering that MTN has been trialing LTE using re-farmed 1800MHz spectrum. MTN is however not talking.

“MTN does not respond to market speculation, nor any specific corporate activity,” the company said in response to questions about their negotiations with WBS.

MTN CEO Karel Pienaar previously confirmed that they were in discussion with WBS, but no further details from either WBS or MTN were available.

Another option for WBS/iBurst is to roll out its own LTE network. In October 2011 WBS said that it will roll out an LTE network by the middle of 2012, and that network deployment would start as early as November 2011.

To date WBS has been quiet about this planned network, but rumours abound that WBS was in discussions with Huawei regarding a potential deal for an LTE network rollout.

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WBS LTE spectrum negotiations ongoing