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The contentious Electronic Communications Amendment Bill will encourage competition in the telecommunications market by giving hundreds of licensed entities access to radio waves, the government argues. "SA has nearly 400 electronic communications network service licensees, while only a handful of them are operational due to a lack of access to spectrum," the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services tells Business Day. Published on November 17, the bill proposes that cellphone network operators share resources. It also recommends the establishment of a Wholesale Open-Access Network (Woan), which would house the highly sought-after bands of spectrum that network operators covet. For years, the incumbents have been calling for the government to allocate this spectrum — some of which remains tied up with analogue television — via auctions or other competitive means. Doing so, they argue, would help them to expand network coverage rapidly and reduce data prices. Free Market ...

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