Free Market Foundation issues warning to mobile users

The Free Market Foundation is not convinced that the South African Government’s plans for mobile networks will benefit customers in the short or long term.

The foundation believes that those who use the Internet via mobile platforms should pay the most attention, as access to Internet via cellphone, tablets or laptops could be adversely affected by the proposed changes.

“New government policy has the potential to disrupt the established mobile network infrastructure by effectively nationalising the future high speed broadband (4G) mobile network.,” read a statement released by the Free Market Foundation this week.

“The policy will see the effective expropriation of some of the mobile network operators (MNOs) private assets of spectrum and infrastructure, which means continued essential industry investment is likely to dry up.

“SA’s internet roll out, especially mobile, is one of the country’s few great success stories since the new democracy in terms of empowerment, quality of national coverage and device ownership. The public needs to be informed and the media should ask the right questions of Minister Cwele and the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services (DTPS),” continued the statement.

According to the foundation plans are afoot to “use high demand spectrum to build a single wireless open access network (WOAN) – a monopoly network.

“The impact will be, that as MNOs migrate from the older 2G and 3G spectrum to 4G/LTE and beyond, they will be forced to use the single network controlled by government.

“Lack of investment by the big players will mean the reduction in quality and choice for many mobile device users. Forget the future of fast, cheap, reliable access and choice of new and better technologies, SA would fall behind as investment declines and network infrastructure becomes old and unreliable.”

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