Telkom CEO Sipho Maseko has written an open letter to South Africa’s political leaders.
In it, Maseko states the government needs to release spectrum to mobile operators so value can be unlocked by technology players.
The request follows the recent announcement that South Africa’s economy shrunk by over 2% in the first quarter of 2018.
“This should jolt us into action. One way of doing this is to release spectrum to unlock value and set the country on a trajectory to participate in the fourth industrial revolution,” said Maseko.
“The digital economy is now a major contributor to the gross domestic products of advanced economies,” he added.
“Resources like spectrum, which is a high-impact, finite, and scarce national resource, are at the heart of unlocking value across all sectors in the digital economy.”
Local mobile operators have been calling for the release of additional spectrum for years, with ICASA and the government recently at odds over how best to distribute the resource.
The latest move by the government is to establish a national wholesale open access network, which is set to receive spectrum.
Mobile operators may then be able to purchase the left-over spectrum, if they purchase capacity from the wholesale network.