The Minister of Finance, Tito Mboweni, has published a call for comment on a discussion paper titled ‘Economic transformation, inclusive growth and competitiveness: Towards an economic strategy for South Africa’ (the discussion paper). The discussion paper considers the contribution of specific growth reforms to achieve inclusive growth, economic transformation and competitiveness in the country.
Section 2.2 of the discussion paper deals with telecommunications, including market competition, spectrum allocation and broadband roll-out. Notably, the discussion paper finds that “the delay in digital migration and the spectrum allocation process is the single biggest constraint on the growth of the telecommunications sector and is a bottleneck for broader economic growth”.
The discussion paper further notes, among other things, as follows:
- The cost to communicate is excessively high in South Africa.
- While mobile has dominated the broadband space, it is not a sustainable technology for the future.
- As technologies improve and the demand for data continues to rise, fixed-line broadband is the only future-proof technology, owing to there being no limit to its ability to transmit data.
- Immediate enforcement of local loop unbundling would enable multiple providers to have access to the local loop, enhance competition, and reduce unnecessary infrastructure duplication.
- The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has proposed an economic regulation component, which should be independent of line departments and directly funded from industry levies.
The deadline for submissions is 15 September 2019, and should be emailed to Ms R. Coetzee at [email protected]
The call for comment is accessible here.
The discussion paper 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].