Spectrum, all mobile network operators in South Africa need it to offer their services across the country and with the governments failing to allocate spectrum it has become a mobile operators most valuable asset.

Shameel Joosub the CEO of Vodacom stated that since there has been no new spectrum allocated in South Africa over the last 14 years this been the biggest hinderance in the reduction of data prices which has been a contentious issue over the last few years with the rise of the #DataMustFall Movements.

Joosub Said: “Lengthy delays in completing the digital migration and allocating 4G spectrum have curbed the pace at which data prices could have fallen”

This sentiment was backed up by the CEO of MTN SA Godfrey Motsa who said that due to the “spectrum crunch” that has troubled south Africa for over a decade has stunted the growth the mobile industry in South Africa.

So, What Exactly is Spectrum?

 

To be straight forward: “Spectrum relates to the radio frequencies allocated to the mobile industry and other sectors for communication over the airwaves” (GSMA, 2019)

What this essentially means for our mobile operators is that the more spectrum they have means they have a bigger advantage over their competition.

So, this begs the question: Who has the most spectrum in South Africa?

This short answer is Telkom, who didn’t see that coming, this was revealed by Telkom Consumer CEO Serame Taukobong, in Telkom’s recent capital markets day presentation. Taukobong revealed that Telkom has 114MHz of mobile spectrum versus the 76MHZ that is used by Vodacom, MTN and CellC.

Take a look at the table below:

Mobile Spectrum

Spectrum Band

Vodacom

MTN

CellC

Telkom

Rain

900Mhz

22MHz

22MHz

22MHz

1800MHz

24MHz

24MHz

24MHz

24MHz

34MHz

2100MHz

30MHz

30MHz

30MHz

30MHz

2300MHz

68MHz

2600MHz

15MHz

3500MHz

28MHz

142MHz

Total

76MHz

76MHZ

76MHz

150MHz

191MHz

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