Spectrum delays affecting MTN SA network quality

8 Aug 2014

Sifiso Dabengwa, CEO of MTN Group, has highlighted that delays in issuing a final policy on high-demand frequency spectrum for mobile broadband services, including Long Term Evolution (LTE), is affecting MTN South Africa’s network quality in some parts of the country, TechCentral reports. The executive revealed that MTN SA has previously engaged with the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services (formerly Department of Communications) on formulating a policy position on allocating new spectrum, but no scheme has been forthcoming. The executive was cited as saying: ‘We are getting to a stage in some parts of our business where we definitely do need additional spectrum. In some parts, the network quality is actually being affected by the unavailability of additional spectrum.’

According to TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, telecoms regulator ICASA announced a scheme to reallocate 50MHz of 2.6GHz spectrum belonging to state-backed broadcasting network owner Sentech to cellcos, with all spare bandwidth in the band to be offered along with 800MHz ‘digital dividend’ spectrum at an auction to be held in 2014; the digital dividend band will be freed up following South Africa’s switchover from analogue to digital television. However, the migration process has been postponed on several occasions since 2008; telecoms minister Siyabonga Cwele pledged to publish government’s final policy on digital migration by the end of July 2014, but failed to meet his self-imposed deadline.

South Africa, MTN South Africa