The Internet Service Providers’ Association of South Africa (ISPA) is suggesting mediation to resolve the spectrum wrangling.
The deadlock is threatening to drag on for another year with litigation having begun.
This is a setback to South African consumers that are anticipating a post-coronavirus future with a much lower cost to communicate, thanks to mobile network operators getting access to the spectrum.
ISPA noted the country’s mobile network operators had explained away South Africa’s historically high voice and data rates as the direct result of not having enough high-demand spectrum.
“The current pandemic has demonstrated that remote access to high-speed data boosts real-world quality of life and underscores the gap between the connectivity-haves and connectivity-have-nots,” ISPA stated.
“If the assignment of high-demand spectrum had not been stalled for all these years, we could already have achieved the twin goals of protecting lives and generating revenue for the State which have now taken on added importance.”
Telkom, eTV, MTN and Vodacom have taken issue with Independent Communications Authority of SA’s Invitation to Apply (ITA) and approached the courts for relief.
ISPA noted the incumbent operators are on record as stating that limited access to scarce spectrum was the reason they could not provide resale opportunities to ISPs.
“ISPs and South African businesses and consumers look forward to the day when that reason drops into oblivion thanks to the successful assignment of high demand spectrum in the first half of 2021,” ISPA concluded.
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