South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has unveiled the government’s plan to grow the economy.
Speaking at the Union Buildings in Pretoria this morning, Ramaphosa said the economic stimulus and recovery plan is aimed at creating new jobs and growing the economy.
In terms of the ICT sector, he stated that in the next few weeks, the government will start a process to release and assign high-demand radio frequency spectrum.
This will lead to lower mobile data costs, and improve the competitiveness of the economy, said Ramaphosa.
The statement follows Ramaphosa declaring at the start of September that the Department of Telecommunications must speed up its decision on the allocation of critical radio frequency spectrum for wireless networks.
The Presidency said they will allocate spectrum in the 2.6GHz, 700MHz, and 800MHz frequency bands.
Once allocated, ICASA will be able to invite network operators to apply for licences to use the spectrum.
The 700MHz and 800MHz fall within the “digital dividend”, however, and these frequencies will be available when South Africa completes its migration from analogue to digital TV broadcasting. This process has been delayed for years.
Mobile networks have been calling for additional spectrum for several years, stating it will let them bring down data prices and provide better coverage to users.
Networks have also stated that if South Africa does not release additional wireless network capacity in the form of radio frequency spectrum, mobile carriers will not be able to launch 5G services in the country.