Lessons From Spectrum Auctions
Spectrum is widely viewed as a finite national and global resource that needs to be managed in the public interest to derive the “greatest benefit to the entire population”, as South Africa’s spectrum policy has put it. The ITU says the goals of spectrum management are to “stimulate social and economic progress” and to make “efficient and effective use of the spectrum”.
As ICT access, usage and consumption patterns swing from telephony interaction, through internet connectivity, to widespread broadband availability devouring multiple forms of data-intensive audiovisual content, the pressure on spectrum has never been more severe. The rising tide of connectivity – South Africa for example has over 92 million active SIM cards in a population of some 57 million, but still only 9.5% of households have internet access at home – along with the proliferation of smartphones, notebooks and tablets and the predilection for bandwidth-hungry online content and apps, has put increasing demands on operators to supply wireless access, services and content.
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