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Telecoms & Networks News South Africa

Icasa expands Wi-Fi services with new spectrum allocation in lower 6GHz band

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) has published an Amendment to Annexure B of the Radio Frequency Spectrum Regulations, 2015 in respect of Radio Frequency Spectrum Licence Exemptions, effectively opening up the lower 6 GHz spectrum band for the provision of Wi-Fi services.
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The lower 6GHz frequency band refers to the radio frequency range of 5925 – 6425 MHz, as allocated in the National Radio Frequency Plan.

Annexure B of Radio Frequency Spectrum Regulations, 2015, consists of a list of radio apparatus, the use or possession of which does not require a radio frequency spectrum licence.

Icasa has now incorporated the key lower 6 GHz frequency band (from 5925 to 6425 MHz) for Radio Local Access Networks (RLAN/Wi-Fi) Applications, and the frequency band 122 – 246 GHz for Non-Specific Short-range Applications, via this amendment to Annexure B of the Radio Frequency Spectrum Regulations.

This lower 6GHz frequency band offers several benefits and a much-needed boost for RLAN(s) and provides a much-needed boost for the uptake of Wi-Fi services.

This additional spectrum can support more simultaneous connections, offers reduced latency, delivers faster data speeds, and results in less interference, especially in potential congested high-density areas and campus environments.

Overall, the implementation of the lower 6 GHz frequency band is expected to provide significant improvements, more robust and reliable wireless communications, and an enhanced user experience for both consumers and businesses throughout the country.

The introduction of the lower 6 GHz frequency band for the deployment of Wi-Fi services will also support the growth of the digital economy and help to address the digital divide by providing better, more reliable, and affordable connectivity to community access networks in underserved and remote areas. This can further drive innovation and development in the wireless industry.

The lower 6 GHz frequency band is rapidly emerging worldwide as a key component in broadband rollout and its uptake, providing an essential local loop component to support fiber, Fixed Wireless Access (FWA), TV-Whitespace (TVWS), and satellite backhaul. Making the lower 6 GHz available for RLAN/Wi-Fi deployment offers important support to the national broadband strategy with the objective of enabling socio-economic growth and development.

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