At the beginning of May, POTRAZ with the permission of the Ministry of ICT announced that they would be freeing up additional spectrum to internet service providers and mobile network providers.
The Ministry recently released a press release detailing some of the good things that have come from that move and there are some interesting things to take note of
The Ministry’s press release revealed the type of spectrum dished out which will be of interest to those of you who are technically inclined;
Whilst we discussed the impact of giving up additional spectrum the Ministry hammered away at that point noting that the move will reduce congestion on networks as more people work and learn from home. Simultaneously it will allow service providers to provide cheaper bundles which has materialised in the form of cheaper eLearning bundles.
Since the announcement of allocation of additional spectrum POTRAZ hasn’t acknowledged the fact that all the companies they’ve given additional spectrum will actually have to work towards tapping into this spectrum
The IAPs and MNOs will have to reconfigure their networks and also implement certain hardware at their base stations to actually tap into this spectrum and to my knowledge, the MNOs are yet to do this (some are in the process) which calls into question how much of this is the free spectrum. They are working to implement
Anyway the press release attributed the following successes to the additional spectrum;
The allocation of additional spectrum has allowed ISPs and the Ministry highlighted the following offerings as a direct result of this move;
The eLearning bundles are significantly cheaper than the existing bundles and seem to generally be a good idea that if taken up by institutions will be a great way to improve access to online learning at a time when that is the biggest concern in the education circles.
Interestingly, the Ministry doesn’t mention Econet’s church bundles which one would assume they are able to offer because of the free spectrum
The press release by the Ministry was the first mention I’ve heard of an e-Health bundle being offered by NetOne. We reached out to NetOne representatives to confirm the existence of such a bundle and they said they’ll get back to us with confirmation. At the time of writing, they are yet to do so.
Also the Ministry lumps Liquid Telecom’s EduZones program to their spectrum but its important to note that Liquid Telecom announced the Edu-Zones program as far back as December 2019 – 5 months before the additional spectrum was dished out.
Ultimately, I think the gesture by POTRAZ and by extension the Ministry of ICT was a good one and well-meaning but I have doubts on whether the impact is as far-reaching as of yet. I do think in the near future the impacts of their awarding of the spectrum will bear fruit
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