MTN hails Icasa’s temporary spectrum release
JOHANNESBURG - MTN SOUTH Africa (MTN SA) operator MTN yesterday said the temporary release of high demand spectrum during the national lockdown was a boost to its network performance.
Chief executive Godfrey Motsa said that the release of temporary spectrum by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) would enable the group to reach more customers with even better coverage and quality.
“What we saw in 2020 is that with more spectrum, MTN has been able to continue expanding and enhancing our world-class network, we’ve been able to bring more people online and we have been able to reduce prices.
“The collaboration between government, Icasa and business works and when we get it right, all South Africans benefit,” Motsa said.
In April, Icasa made emergency spectrum available to major mobile operators, including MTN, Vodacom and Telkom, to ease network congestion due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The emergency release of the high demand spectrum was a temporary measure to help maintain good quality broadband services and enable licensees to lower the cost of access to customers.
Motsa said: “MTN SA’s total data traffic has almost doubled from 2019, and by using the temporary spectrum we have been able to significantly increase the number of South Africans using data, through our partnership with the government and public benefit organisations".
He said that MTN SA had zero-rated more than 1 000 health and education websites which were currently serving more than 4 million people each month and in the past year MTN has dropped the effective price of data by more than 30 percent.
The temporary spectrum has made it possible for Vodacom and MTN to launch 5G networks.
MTN said that it used some of the temporary spectrum to showcase the startling speed and capabilities of 5G, not only in large cities, but also in smaller towns such as Port Alfred, Hopetown, Virginia, Queenstown and Tsantsabane.
MTN also added new 5G clusters in Durban, Pretoria and Centurion. MTN was named the best mobile network in South Africa in the 2020 MyBroadband Insights Mobile Network Quality Report.
The report was based on 1.2 million speed tests which were performed by 41 000 MyBroadband Speed Test App users across South Africa between January 1 and December 31, 2020.
The research showed that MTN had the highest average download speed at 52.84Mbps, followed by Vodacom on 29.39Mbps, Telkom on 21.58Mbps, Cell C on 17.46Mbps, and Rain on 11.90Mbps.