South Africa Invites Submissions on Draft Spectrum Policy

The South African Department of Communications and Digital Technologies (DCDT) has published an “invitation to provide written submissions on the proposed next generation radio frequency spectrum policy for economic development“. The next generation radio frequency spectrum policy is South Africa’s draft revised Radio Frequency Spectrum Policy.
The Minister of Communication and Digital Technologies, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, made the invitation. The statement read, “I, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies (the Minister), hereby issue the Next Generation Radio Frequency Spectrum Policy for Economic Development (Spectrum Policy) in the schedule in terms of sections 3(1) read with section 3(5) of the Electronic Communications Act, (ECA), (Act No. 36 of 2005) for the purpose of public consultation.”                                                                                                                                                                                Interested persons may provide the written comments on the proposed spectrum policy within 30 days of the date of publication. The publication date is 8 September 2022. Furthermore, such an interested person may address the comments to the Director-General, Department of Communications and Digital Technologies. For attention: Mr T Ngobeni, Deputy Director-General, Infrastructure Support. First Floor, Block A2, iParioli Office Park, 1166 Park Street, Hatfield, Pretoria Private Bag x860, Pretoria, 0001). The Department will disregard all comments and submissions made after the stated 30 days elapse.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The policy’s primary purpose is to address the policy gaps and limitations in the ICT White Paper, which include:
  • Unclear roles and responsibilities between the Minister and the Regulator resulting in institutional inefficiencies;
  • Gaps in the spectrum management regime with regard to the alignment between national universal service objectives and the licensing of frequency spectrum resources, the setting of spectrum fees, spectrum trading, sharing, re-farming and migration;
  • An exclusive spectrum regime which promotes economic growth for a few market players at the expense of broader participation and limited socio-economic development, and therefore an inequitable assignment of spectrum which is in high demand;
  • Extending broadband access to rural, remote and underserviced areas; and
  • Failure to lower the cost of communications.

Additionally, the Spectrum Policy looks to establish a mechanism for creating a stable and predictable regulatory environment.