In President Cyril Ramaphosa’ state of the nation address, he confirmed that the government would begin the process of releasing spectrum. This is limited in South Africa because television is still using much of the spectrum to broadcast.

 

The release of a new spectrum has mobile operators believe that data prices could soon tumble.

However, with a switch to digital terrestrial television, it would open up more spectrum for mobile operators to use. In particular, they are interested in the 700-800mHz spectrum which is the most efficient for the 4G network.

A more efficient spectrum means less investment in and maintenance of infrastructure, which ultimately translates to lower data prices.

 

At MTN, we are confident we will be able to introduce further and significant reductions to the cost of data, when we are able to access 4G and 5G spectrum,” MTN corporate affairs executive Jacqui O’Sullivan told Business Insider.

 

However, mobile operators added that much depends on how the state sells the spectrum. There could very well be conditions attached to the selling of the spectrum, would actually force them to build more towers, leading to higher data prices.

Acquiring spectrum with a condition, for example, that requires us to build a network that delivers 4G connectivity to 100% of the population with download speeds above 100mbps would require a staggering investment in the network,” said a Vodacom spokesperson. 

 

“This would naturally increase input costs and could, in fact, result in higher rather than lower data prices.”

 

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