The Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, has noted the decision of the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) to consent to an order setting aside the invitations to apply (ITA) for auctioning of high-demand spectrum and licensing of wireless open access network (Woan ITA).
“The decision by Icasa does not detract from the engagements the minister continues to hold with the telecommunications mobile operators and other relevant parties to find an amicable solution towards an urgent release of the spectrum,” the communications and digital technologies department said on Wednesday.
The ITAs for auctioning of high-demand spectrum and WOAN ITA were published on 2 October, 2020.
The department said Ntshavheni is encouraged by the attitude of the various parties on processes that are beneficial towards national interests.
“The release of the spectrum is one of the key reforms necessary to ignite economic growth and recovery, especially after the pandemic has moved the daily operations of the economy to the digital space,” the department said.
Meanwhile, the ANC said in a post-national executive committee meeting and the party’s lekgotla media briefing on Tuesday it would push government for “fast action on the release of broadband spectrum so as to enable universal access to it.
Acting secretary-general Jessie Duarte said the ANC was concerned that only five operators were the only suppliers as this “does not auger well for the spreading out” of the spectrum.
“There is a need to move beyond the narrowness and to enable universal access to broadband should be the approach to the release of the spectrum and other digital technologies so that the development of the digital economy is inclusive and sustainable.
“We have said the government must find mechanisms to fasttrack the SA Connect project in a cost-effectively manner. It is really up to the government to push this and we are going to push it as the ANC.”
Duarte said the ANC had put down a determination to accelerate the implementation of Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan.
It would continue to implement structural reforms and local productive activity to grow the economy more quickly and stimulate more investment.
- Additional reporting by SAnews.gov.za