Vodacom and MTN are in a race to cover 100% of SA with 4G, but will they continue to do so if the commercial incentive evaporates? MTN, which has supplied 90% of the population with 4G, allowing for higher-speed wireless internet access, said it had spent R43.6bn in growing its network in the past four years and would spend a further R9.7bn in the current financial year. Vodacom recently said the company had pledged to invest R50bn in SA in the next five years to grow its network. But the two biggest operators in the market are fearful of recent changes to the Electronic Communications Amendment (ECA) Bill, which seeks to give effect to the policy objectives of the National Integrated ICT Policy white paper, published in late 2016. A number of amendments have been made that aim to regulate competition in the market and the sharing of network infrastructure. The most contentious issue is around network sharing. The bill proposes to create a Wholesale Open Access Network (Woan). This ...

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