It looks like a controversial plan to establish a single wireless network that will essentially force MTN and Vodacom to hand over their much-needed spectrum is still on the cards.
Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba, in his fluffy new 14-point economic plan, said that government would “conduct a high level study on Wireless Open Access Network spectrum needs with a view to license the remainder to the industry”.
The deadline for this study is August 2017. It’s unclear what the study’s outcome could be and how much spectrum the industry will actually be left with. To date, only Mexico and Rwanda have adopted this type of approach with mixed reviews.
If government pushes ahead and takes back spectrum from mobile networks, it could spell disaster for SA. Another ‘Zwane-styled’ mining charter scandal risks damaging SA if government pushes ahead with it.