The electronic communications sector is now one of the most advanced infrastructure and services sectors on the African continent. However, it has had a propensity towards low levels of competition among telecoms operators. Advances in the sector include the opening up of the undersea cable markets to competition, the evolution of broadband markets, and high-speed broadband including Gigabit Internet. This gives rise to questions such as: To what extent is the electronic communications sector providing advanced infrastructures and services for communications that will impact well on transformation in other economic and social sectors – financial; real estate and business services; travel and tourism; business process outsourcing; the media; and audio-visual and entertainment sectors? And, to what extent is electronic communications infrastructure providing the networks for advanced research collaboration among African scholars and their American (North and South), Asian, Australian or European counterparts via dedicated national/regional research and education networks (NRENs and RRENs)? So many challenges remain for policy-making and for regulators, including the urgent need for regulation of radio- frequency spectrum for mobile communications and mobile data access; digital migration in the broadcast sector; pricing of electronic communications services; regulation of mobile money transactions; consumer protection in mobile money environments; and broader challenges of regulating for the digital economy, including the appropriate regulation of environments that will promote e-health services and other initiatives in the transformation of economies and society.
Browsing AJIC Issue 14, 2015 by Author "Stucke, William"
(LINK Centre, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg, 2015-12-15) Stucke, William
South Africa is one of the countries in the SADC region carrying out research and tests of television white space (TVWS) technology. TVWS technology, and dynamic spectrum management generally, have the potential to increase significantly the usage of valuable spectrum, that is considered to be scarce, and hence reduce the perceived scarcity. In so doing, TVWS technology has the potential to facilitate greater coverage and penetration of broadband in South Africa. However, this requires a paradigm shift from the traditional manually approved spectrum licensing process, usually on an exclusive basis, to an automated, dynamic process, where spectrum is shared between many users, some of whom will be assigned a higher priority than others. This can be achieved using a geo-location database, which implements complex radio propagation modelling and assigns permissions to use spectrum according to rules specified by the regulator. This, however, requires a new regulatory approach to spectrum assignment. A multi-level use approach is proposed ranging from protected exclusive, through protected secondary. to unprotected licence-exempt. None of these uses may cause interference to a higher level.