LTE spectrum policy drafted

The spectrum policy for high-demand spectrum has been drafted by the Department of Communications (DoC) and is in consultations with stakeholders.

This is according to information received from Cassius Nkosi, a councillor of the City of Ekurhuleni on the finance oversight committee, who was contacted by deputy director-general of the DoC, Themba Phiri.

The DoC was contacted for comment but did not respond by the time of publication.

Phiri contacted Nkosi after the councillor posted on the DoC’s Facebook wall asking for an update on the status of the policy direction.

Nkosi said that while countries like Namibia have acted resolutely to roll-out high speed mobile broadband technology, “South Africa dithers over when and how to issue this high-demand spectrum.”

The spectrum in question is the 800MHz “digital dividend” and 2.6GHz bands. These bands are highly sought-after for the roll-out of high speed mobile broadband technologies such as Long Term Evolution (LTE).

Network operators such as Vodacom and MTN have said previously that they are ready to roll out LTE and just need the spectrum to deploy the network.

South Africa’s telecommunications regulator, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) previously explained that it is waiting on a Ministerial policy directive before it can assign the spectrum.

MTN has since announced plans to launch commercial LTE services in South Africa during 2012 even though the 800MHz and 2,600MHz bands haven’t been assigned yet.

8ta is also upgrading its network and getting it ready for a potential commercial LTE launch in 2013.

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LTE spectrum policy drafted