What Vodacom thinks of ICT White Paper compromise

Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub has told MyBroadband that they are supportive of the compromises announced yesterday regarding South Africa’s plans for a national wireless network.

The Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services, Siyabonga Cwele, told Parliament they had reached a compromise with the various stakeholders in the industry.

He provided assurances that the government would not take back the spectrum licences of mobile operators until “the end of the current licence period”, 2028.

This is on condition that operators commit to buy at least 30% of the capacity on the government’s wireless open access network (WOAN) to ensure its viability.

Cwele also promised to conduct a study to determine how much of the currently unassigned high-demand spectrum the WOAN will need.

Vodacom supportive

“Since the publication of the White Paper, Vodacom has participated in a number of exploratory meetings with the minister and industry to find a workable solution to implementing the WOAN to meet South Africa’s social and economic objectives,” said Joosub.

“At a high level, Vodacom is supportive of the minister’s hybrid model and his commitment to conducting an urgent independent study to determine the quantum of spectrum required for the WOAN to succeed, and to determine how much spectrum the WOAN can efficiently use.”

Vodacom also welcomed the announcement that the spectrum assigned to network operators will not be returned before the end of the licence period.

Vodacom and other members of the industry have, on the basis that spectrum is made available to the industry, expressed its willingness to support the uptake of a minimum of 30% of the WOAN’s available capacity at commercially negotiated rates.

“We look forward to continuing our constructive engagement with the government to ensure the sustainability of the telecommunications industry in South Africa,” said Joosub.

Now read: South African operators won’t have to give spectrum back, yet – Minister

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What Vodacom thinks of ICT White Paper compromise