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Mixed bag for telecoms as spectrum nears, load-shedding hurts

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Finance minister Tito Mboweni.
Finance minister Tito Mboweni.

Budget 2020: National Treasury’s review document has warned about the negative impact load-shedding will have on existing telecommunications infrastructure.

The document, released to coincide with finance minister Tito Mboweni’s annual budget speech this afternoon, shows the telecoms sector as a catalyst industry towards the country’s economic growth.

The document states: “In the first three quarters of 2019, real value added in the transport and telecommunications sector increased by 0.8% compared to the same period in 2018. Over the next few years, the sector is expected to grow more quickly due to the expansion of spectrum allocation, although load-shedding may negatively affect existing infrastructure.”

It further highlights that SA needs much faster economic growth to promote investment, create jobs and enable the state to sustainably grow the revenue that pays for social and developmental programmes.

As a result, it notes that issuance of rapid deployment guidelines would enable the private sector to invest more quickly in telecommunications infrastructure.

“Enforcement of existing open-access conditions would avoid duplication of infrastructure. Digital migration should be accelerated, and work to release spectrum through the auction process should continue.”

The Treasury’s economic blueprint released last year identified the ICT sector among the industries believed to have the ability to fire up the country’s economy.

Delivering his budget speech, Mboweni reiterated that modernising network industries and state-owned enterprises still forms part of the fundamental pillar towards government’s economic strategy.

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