SA must unlock the economic promise that information and communication technology (ICT) presents, while also keeping communication affordable. The wireless open access network proposed in the recent draft Electronic Communications Amendment Bill would do just that. The bill proposes that a wireless open access network operator house the spectrum — the frequencies used to transmit sound and data to cellphones. Spectrum is a limited and valuable resource essential for all forms of wireless communication such as mobile telephony, aeronautical and maritime navigation and satellite communications. In a country with limited connectivity, any proposal that reinforces ICT as a public good should be welcome. Although mobile penetration has increased considerably, the cost of communication remains high when compared with similar middle-income countries and to neighbouring countries. Hence the popular slogan #DataMustFall. Telkom welcomes the principle of an open access mobile network provider...

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