SA urged to release broadband spectrum

2012-01-16 11:55
Cape Town - African governments, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, have been urged to move forward in the allocation of mobile broadband spectrum, an international body has said.

"Across all of Sub-Saharan Africa, by releasing the 2.6GHz digital dividend band for mobile broadband, by 2016, this could create an additional $82bn per year in net GDP [gross domestic product] across the region," Peter Lyons GSMA director for spectrum policy in Africa and the Middle East told News24.

In the organisation's report, it found that the increase in GDP would result in $18bn in tax revenue across the region, leading to a potential reduction in poverty.

World Bank statistics show that for every 10% increase in mobile penetration, there is a corresponding 0.8% increase in GDP.

Mobile broadband is essential in Africa as there is a lack of fixed line infrastructure and Lyons said the allocation of spectrum would also have a direct impact on job creation.

Delayed

"That translates to what we estimate to about 27 million new jobs between 2016 and 2025 which, of course, links to an 8.5% increase in GDP per capita, and that leads to a reduction in extreme poverty of about 40 million people."

Given the cost of mobile networks, as well as unplanned delays, the GSMA acknowledges that roll-out may be delayed several years, but says that the benefits are most compelling the quicker the spectrum is made available.

"What we actually see is that a lot of the benefits are diminished. There're still benefits obviously to releasing the spectrum by 2020, but the benefits that we see by 2016 are very compelling," said Lyons.

He said that politicians were not always up-to-speed with the latest research and needed a "reality check".

"It's [the research] compelling for policy makers and obviously policy makers are the main target for this research, but policy makers are not always on top of every report that ends up in their inbox, so it's much easier to get their attention through the press and media.

"There're policy makers and there're politicians. Politicians love to say things like 'South Africa will have the analogue digital transition by 2012'. They love to make these pronouncements - ambitious terms - but not necessarily backed up by reality."

Lyons said that often public pronouncements did not take into account all the steps needed to deliver services to the public and cited South Africa's habit of pushing back deadlines.

New technology

"Sometimes by putting it out there it creates the sense of lethargy and 'We publically made the announcement' and there's not really much thinking too well what are the legislative; political processes that have to be put in place to actually allow this happen.

"Now in South Africa particularly, with the new minister of communications there is more of a realisation that there's a lot of work that has to be done to make this happen. Obviously, 2012 has come and gone; now 2013 is also a question mark," he said.

The issue is also frustrating for operators because they will not invest in new technology unless they have guarantees that it is a viable business plan.

"I think it's a priority for the DOC [department of communications] and I think South Africa has a pretty good shot to reach the analogue to digital switchover before 2016.

"Our modelling and assumptions are based on 2014 - 2016 allocation of the spectrum," Lyons added.

In 2011, department of communications minister Roy Padayachie alluded to the complexities facing his department in the allocation of spectrum.

"Unfortunately in the South African landscape, this problem is overlaid with very complex issues of race and colour and the way that it dominates the landscape of the economy," said Padayachie.

Political considerations

Lyons slammed state-owned enterprises that seemed to be a roadblock in the roll-out of spectrum and said that politics must give way to how the additional spectrum could benefit citizens.

"I think the case around Africa is complex and there is some political dimension to the issue of spectrum release in South Africa.

"The role of some of the government-owned entities in sort of managing that spectrum. I think it's not going to be an easy road in South Africa because you can make the case on technical terms, you can make the case on economic terms. You can show all the graphs and benefits, but ultimately a lot of these decisions are going to be short-circuited by political considerations."

"South Africa is at a unique point in its history where there is a lot of additional complexities surrounding the telecoms sector," he added.


- Follow Duncan on Twitter
 
- News24
Read more on:    gsma  |  mobile  |  broadband
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’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
4 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Sport
 

Printable solar panels will bring exciting new opportunities!

Printed sheets of flexible solar cells can mean your electronic devices can soon be charged with the use of renewable energy.

 
 

For chic geeks...

Now there’s a special lane for texting while walking
LOL! 7 brutally honest texts from parents
This lock means keys are something of the past!
7 things you didn't know about Apple

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Mind blow low prices on electronics

Get either the Prestigio multiphone or Proline tablet 7” tablet for only R699. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off Barbie toys

Save 30% on all Barbie toys and accessories. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Baby extravanganza month at kalahari.com

Celebrate baby month with a wide range of awesome baby products. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now.

30% off new fiction books!

Save 30% on new captivating books from great authors such as Wilbur Smith, James Pettereson and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

Camping gear!

We’ve got all your camping must have’s right here at mind blowing low prices. Check them out now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

As the Moon moves out of restless Gemini into sensitive Cancer today you are able to relax your active mind and be more receptive...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.