• Caught in the debt trap?

    Help us help you by taking our second annual Debt survey and you could win R3 000.

  • Rich man, poor man

    Culture change from below is the only way to overcome poverty, says Leopold Scholtz.

  • Tech bubble talk

    After the tech euphoria of 2013, the fast-moving sector has hit a speed bump.

Data provided by McGregor BFA
All data is delayed
Loading...
See More

Broadband: Urgent intervention needed

Nov 11 2010 08:03 I-Net Bridge

Related Articles

Bridging the divide

Taking stock of online

MWEB wins ISP of the year

Patent lawsuits against Apple, Google

Cell C to appeal ASA ruling

Cell C launches new network in Bloem

 
Cape Town - Industry lobby group GSM Association has called on the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) to support mobile broadband services in South Africa by making key decisions on mobile spectrum allocation and taxation policy.

According to the findings of an independent report by analyst firm Analysys Mason, commissioned by the Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA), spectrum allocation and the levying of additional taxes on mobile services are the major barriers to wider mobile broadband deployment and the launch of Long-Term Evolution (LTE), the next generation broadband technology in South Africa.

The South African government has set national coverage targets of universal broadband access by 2019, with at least 15% household penetration. However, according to GSMA, with South Africa's relatively poor fixed line infrastructure, the role played by mobile broadband in meeting these targets will be significant.

It pointed out that mobile broadband is also a key driver of social and economic advancement.

The Analysys Mason report forecasts that mobile broadband and related industries will generate 1.8% of South Africa's GDP and as many as 28 000 jobs by 2015. Yet this can only be possible if roadblocks to mobile broadband deployment are removed, it said.

"The new Minister for Communications (Roy Padayachie) has this opportunity to make crucial decisions that will enable South Africa to benefit from the power of connecting people and businesses with state of the art mobile technology," said GSMA spokesperson, Ross Bateson.

Speaking at AfricaCom in Cape Town, he added: "It is imperative that Icasa provides clarity over future spectrum release plans and offers assurances that spectrum awards will follow international best practice. Harmonised spectrum allocations must be made to bring South Africa in line with the rest of the world, and to maintain the momentum of HSPA and hasten the arrival of LTE."

HSPA leads the way in the South African broadband market, currently connecting 62% of broadband subscribers. The technology is, at present, the most cost-effective broadband solution for the country, offering fast deployment and low capex investment per subscriber, GSMA points out.

HSPA also provides operators with a natural evolution path to LTE, if the appropriate spectrum is made available. LTE deployments in harmonised spectrum bands benefit from large economies of scale which drive down equipment and handset costs, providing affordable high-speed internet connectivity and access to critical new services for millions of people in both rural and urban areas, the lobby group said.

According to GSMA, the global mobile industry favours ITU Option 1 for 2.6 GHz spectrum harmonisation for the deployment of LTE, which has been adopted by the majority of mobile operators worldwide.

Wealth creation

However, a legacy allocation of spectrum in this band to Sentech, which has remained dormant and unused for many years, currently blocks Icasa from allocating this spectrum for mobile.

"In order to give South African consumers and businesses the most cost-effective access to broadband, and to help the South African government achieve its national broadband coverage targets, spectrum in the 2.6 GHz band must be re-allocated for the deployment of LTE as soon as possible, GSMA said.

On the issue of taxation, the Analysys Mason report also states that additional taxes are making mobile broadband services too expensive for many South Africans. The South African government has implemented a taxation approach that actively reduces mobile broadband penetration by putting an economic burden on the purchase of handsets and services.

"A reduction in these 'special' taxes will translate into higher mobile broadband service adoption and more wealth creation reflected in additional GDP growth," GSMA concluded.
broadband
NEXT ON FIN24X

 
 
 

Read Fin24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
9 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Company Snapshot

We're Talking About: Small Business

Standard Bank is looking for 12 entrepreneurs to participate in a 10-part TV series. They could win a R1m investment into their dream.
 
 

The rich will pay - Mpofu

The EFF in Gauteng will focus all its energy on improving the lives of the poor, the party's premier candidate Dali Mpofu says.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Watch what happened when we blindfolded Helen Zille and asked her to eat random things
13 days to elections - news you need to know
11 Julius Malema quotes you'll never forget
DA won't get 30% - Zille

Money Clinic

Money Clinic
Do you have a question about your finances? We'll get an expert opinion.
Click here...
Loading...