JOHANNESBURG-- The chief executive officer of the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA), Willington Ngwepe, has expressed confidence that the pricing of data connectivity will be massively reduced with the licensing of additional spectrum.

The comments by Ngwepe came after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Monday that ICASA, the independent regulatory body charged with regulating both the telecommunications and broadcasting sectors, regulator is now preparing to license available high-demand spectrum, following a Cabinet decision last month to open access and licensing to the industry.

Ngwepe said Tuesday that ICASA wais already working to fast-track this process to ensure that the rollout was efficiently managed. The release of the additional spectrum might take up to 12 months, depending on the consultation process, ICASA expects.

It will allow for mobile network coverage to be wider, providing universal coverage. This will make it possible for areas in rural parts of the country to have access to connectivity.

In a statement last month, Communications Minister Nomvula Mokonyane said the decision by the Cabinet would help to achieve the national policy obligations, cut the cost of communication, remove the entry barriers for small and medium companies and sustain the current investments.

Ngwepe noted that because spectrum is one of the biggest input costs for the ICT sector, ICASA hopes that through the release of spectrum, the major operators can now lower their prices.

This announcement can make way for the major service providers to drop prices from a regulatory perspective. It would cost service providers less to provide services than it currently costs.

This directive given to ICASA to manage the licensing process has become top of the list for the regulator. Off the back of major protests by the public on #DataMustFall campaign, ICASA now looks to ensure that the rollout is managed efficiently.

Ngwepe highlighted one of the major requests from the process, saying the release of the spectrum should allow new players into the service providers field.


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