The Univeral Service & Access Agency of SA has put forward a plan to pay Vodacom and MTN to deliver voice and data services to rural South Africa.
According to a report in today's Business Day, the cellular network operators would get up to 80% of their infrastructure costs subsidised if they were to deliver high-quality services in these areas.
The subsidies would come from the Universal Service fund, which all operators contribute to.
The call comes after efforts to help small black-owned companies deliver services to the poor had failed, according to Business Day.
Bu offering to subsidise the big players, they would be more enthusiastic about moving into areas that are expensive to reach and service, with limited revenue potential. They would be expected to keep both voice and data services affordable.