Liquid Telecom Contemplates How To Leverage Its 5G Spectrum In South Africa

Liquid Telecom is reportedly giving some serious thought to leveraging its spectrum asset in the 3.5GHz band, which is ideally compatible with the next-generation 5G mobile broadband technology.

Considering that South Africa’s communications regulator ICASA has hinted that it would not be likely to assign spectrum to operators to build 5G networks before the second half of 2020, the move could enable Liquid Telecoms to grab a considerable chunk of the wholesale 5G market early on if it builds a network.

The country’s leading operators, Vodacom and MTN, do not yet have spectrum available to roll out 5G, and could possibly turn to Liquid Telecom (if it builds a network) to allow them to offer 5G ahead of the ICASA licensing process.

However, Reshaad Sha, Liquid Telecom South Africa’s CEO emphasised that no official decisions had yet been made with regards to what it would ultimately do with its 3.5GHz spectrum asset.

Sha said that Liquid Telecom would explore multiple strategies to monetise spectrum on a wholesale basis, rather than a retail service.
He added that Liquid Telecom wanted to remain an enterprise-focused provider at a wholesale level. He said that the telco would provide as many services as possible to the enterprise market, but would continue to leverage its channel partner network in the small and medium enterprise space.

Sha declined to disclose details about the investment Liquid Telecom is making on its 4G roaming agreement with MTN.

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