South Africa to publish 'high-demand spectrum' policy within six months

3 Sep 2014

Siyabonga Cwele, South Africa’s telecoms and postal services minister, has announced that a final policy on high-demand frequency spectrum for mobile broadband services, including Long Term Evolution (LTE), will be published within the next six months, TechCentral reports. Mr Cwele revealed that the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services (formerly Department of Communications) is currently working with telecoms regulator ICASA on finalising the position, and that the policy will be ready before the end of the financial year (31 March 2015).

As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, telecoms regulator ICASA announced a scheme to reallocate a 50MHz block of 2.6GHz spectrum belonging to state-backed broadcasting firm Sentech to the country’s mobile operators, with all spare bandwidth in the spectrum 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 switch-over from analogue to digital television. However, the migration process has been postponed on several occasions since 2008; previously, Cwele pledged to publish government’s final policy on digital migration by the end of July 2014, but the regulator failed to meet his self-imposed deadline.