Call for comment: Proposed policy on licensing unassigned high demand spectrum and deployment of the WOAN
On 27 September 2018, the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services (DTPS) published an invitation to provide written comments on the proposed policy and policy directions to the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) on the licensing of unassigned high demand spectrum.
Comments should be submitted within 30 working days from the date of publication, and be addressed as follows:
Mr. T Ngobeni
Deputy Director-General: Infrastructure Support
Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services
By email: [email protected]
The policy sets out the general considerations applicable to the deployment of the wholesale open access network (WOAN) in South Africa. The invitation to comment also includes the abridged final report prepared by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) on the spectrum requirements for the WOAN. The CSIR recommendations are as follows:
- DTPS should consider setting aside only a portion of spectrum in these bands for the WOAN and the remaining to other licensees.
- DTPS should consider 20% of possible user population in 2020 as a baseline to ensure the viability of the WOAN.
- The following spectrum combinations should be set-aside for the WOAN as a minimum to satisfy the baseline user population and provide enough capacity for high-end users: 2 x 25 MHz of 800 band (Band 20); 2 x 20 MHz of 2600 FDD band (Band 7); and 25 MHz of 2600 TDD band (Band 38).
- A detailed market study should be undertaken to forecast the market size of the WOAN beyond 2020 and up to 2030, which will enable DTPS to take early decision on the licensing of spectrum for 5G.
- Experimentation with different spectrum assignment combinations for new mobile broadband spectrum bands should be undertaken to ensure that the emerging broadband needs are catered for and that new technologies, such as 5G ,are adopted as early as possible. This would include recalculation of the WOAN spectrum needs beyond the year 2020 or at any point when the key assumptions change.
- A technical study should be undertaken to determine spectral efficiency at five-year intervals as the technology improves.
- Further studies should be undertaken that investigate the deployment models and alternative technologies to for delivering broadband to the sparely populated areas of the country.
The invitation to comment (via Tech Central) is accessible here.
The media statement published by DTPS is accessible here.
Please note: The information contained in this note is for general guidance on matters of interest, and does not constitute legal advice. For any enquiries, please contact us at [email protected].