Technology, Media and Telecoms

The promise and peril of upcoming telco regulations in South Africa

Absa Insights is a portal where the bank’s sector experts share essential learnings and new developments with its clients and other businesses. The world is changing; so in 2019 Absa has introduced a series of discussions featuring high-level thinking around Consumer Goods and Services, Agriculture, Telecommunications, Mining and Energy and Infrastructure. Bookmark Absa Insights, where the bank shares insights from discussions designed to help you navigate the ever-shifting trends that are shaping the economy.

Listen to the audio below (or scroll down for a summary of it).

pexels.com, 2019

The allocation of spectrum has been a contentious issue in South Africa for many years.

Networks repurposed 3G spectrum to provide 4G connectivity.

Much uncertainty remains around 5G and the issuing of new spectrum to existing and new operators.

What 5G is all about is quite a wide concept. It’s not one thing or one technology... The technology allows multiple operators on a single network... It will make sense for operators to share more... Who will provide these networking services; a complex engineering task?

Bora Varliyagci, CEO - DigitalThings

There remain regulatory constraints around what type of sharing is permitted to improve efficiency.

By the time regulators tackle a problem that problem has become a problem of yesterday...

Bora Varliyagci, CEO - DigitalThings

A mere decade ago, any form of sharing... It just was non-existent!

Juanita Clark, CEO - FTTX Council Africa

Regulators – who drafted current legislation in an environment where operators did not share infrastructure – are aware of the dire need to update our laws.

The Electronic Communications Amendment Bill has a firm focus on open-access networks and the sharing of infrastructure.

We recently had a change of guard. There's deep faith in the current minister.... [but] amending legislation is a long and cumbersome process...

Juanita Clark, CEO - FTTX Council Africa

In February Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams withdrew the Bill, in a move welcomed by the industry, to "assess the policy and regulatory requirements needed to support the fourth Industrial Revolution and digital economy".

For more detail, watch the video below. Premeshin Naidoo (Absa Corporate and Investment Banking) in discussion with Bora Varliyagci (CEO, DigitalThings) and Juanita Clark (CEO of FTTX Council Africa) on the evolution that the Fourth Industrial Revolution will bring and opportunities around digitisation.


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