MTN, Vodacom SA business at risk over ICT policy - minister 

South African mobile network operators Vodacom and MTN are facing major risks to their businesses amid government’s approval of a new national ICT policy, reports Fin24 citing the Democratic Alliance’s telecommunications shadow minister Marian Shinn. The minister said the policy is unconstitutional as networks have to “surrender” infrastructure and radio wireless spectrum. The Cabinet on 3 October approved the policy which seeks to establish a single public-private sector owned wireless open access network (Woan).

The policy further seeks to provide high-demand spectrum to this Woan and shift away from networks having exclusive rights over this resource. Shinn said all network providers or licensees have to belong to the Woan or they will be not be allocated any spectrum.

The minister said MTN and Vodacom will likely resist and die because they cannot get hold of any of the spectrum. They will also have to gradually release their spectrum into the central pot of spectrum, creating an infrastructure risk. She said she also had concerns that the policy suggests networks have to “make their physical infrastructure available to everybody and they have to make their costing available”.

In an interview, the spokesman for the telecoms and postal services ministry, Siya Qoza, said the ICT policy does not intend to harm the private sector.

Source: Telecom Paper