While Indian operators are requesting more spectrum from the government, in South Africa it seems the government is proving a little more proactive.
Local reports indicate that the government has ordered the country’s communications regulator to issue additional spectrum to operators. This is in response to the spike in demand that pretty much everyone expects during the three-week lockdown that began last Friday at midnight in an effort to limit the spread of the Coronavirus.
According to local business reporters, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, minister of communications, telecommunications and postal services, has instructed the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) to deliver a regulatory framework to temporarily boost spectrum availability,
The process is apparently close to being finalised, though how much spectrum, when it will be issued, and whether it will be handed out all at once or in stages is not yet clear. inevitably many ICASA staff are already working remotely, which may also slow down the process.
The biggest provider of communication services in South Africa, Telkom SA, has welcomed the release of temporary spectrum, though it won’t be alone. All operators in the country are worried about network congestion from both social and business demand as more South Africans stay at home.