Cabinet has approved the publication of the final next-generation radio frequency spectrum policy.
This, as the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has earmarked 2024 to complete the second phase of the spectrum auction process.
In a statement, Cabinet says the policy intends to support the spectrum allocation and licensing for fixed mobile, broadcasting, aeronautical and marine, research and development, community access, and other relevant industries.
It further seeks to promote equity and fair allocation to contribute towards the transformation of the sector and accessibility of digital connectivity, even in outlying parts of the country.
“The purpose of the policy is to address gaps and limitations that were identified in the 2016 National Information and Communications Technology White Paper, and prepare for the amendment of relevant sections of the Electronic Communications Act, 2005 (Act 36 of 2005).”
According to Cabinet, these sections include unclear roles and responsibilities between the minister and ICASA, which contributed to inefficiencies; gaps in the spectrum management regime; an exclusive spectrum regime that benefit a few and bigger players; and inefficiencies towards extending broadband access to rural, remote and underserved areas.
In March 2022, telecoms regulator ICASA confirmed the conclusion of the auction of the International Mobile Telecommunications radio frequency spectrum, marking the first big auction in 15 years.
Local industry pundits previously said more spectrum is required for South Africa to tap into the full potential of the next-frontier technology.