ICASA has allocated frequency spectrum in the 800MHz band to Neotel, which will be used to roll out voice and Internet services for individuals and SMME customers.
The allocation follows a Gazette notice published on 31 October 2006 where ICASA ruled that non-broadcasting companies can apply for spectrum in the 800MHz band, and the subsequent application submitted to ICASA by Neotel in December 2006.
Ajay Pandey, MD of Neotel, says: “In spite of the spectrum only being allocated to Neotel now, we have already made significant progress in our plans to introduce a variety of voice and data services, including high speed Internet and true broadband access services for the consumer segments. We are on track and ready to roll out initial services to consumers around the middle of the 2007."
Globally, the use of CDMA2000 mobile technology in the 800MHz spectrum has proved to provide larger coverage for both voice and high-speed Internet services at lower costs, providing optimal economies of scale.
Pandey adds: “Competition in the provision of basic telecoms services will support the government’s aim of boosting economic growth and job creation in the country. Access to the 800MHz frequency band is an important facilitator to competition in the telecoms market, and Neotel intends to play a major role in the growth of the South African economy."
Paris Mashile, chairman of ICASA, says: “The allocation of this spectrum should also be seen in the context of ICASA’s drive to put South Africa on a path that will open up access to new, innovative and world-class technologies and the provision of services to low-income consumers for whom telecommunication has previously been unaffordable.”