Proposal tabled to open 6GHz band to Wi-Fi in South Africa

The Wireless Access Providers Association (Wapa) has called on government to free up vast tracts of radio frequency spectrum in the 6GHz band, claiming that doing so could drive a wave of economic growth.

Wapa, which represents many of South Africa’s wireless Internet service providers, said its own calculations suggest that more than R560-billion in increased GDP could be derived from freeing up 1.2GHz of spectrum around 6GHz.

Wapa executive Paul Colmer said the spectrum is ideally suited for the deployment of next-generation Wi-Fi 6E technology, an evolution of Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) that is developed for use in the 6GHz hand.

According to the Wi-Fi Alliance, countries such as the US, UK, Taiwan, South Korea, Brazil, Chile, Mexico and the United Arab Emirates – as well as markets across the EU – have already made portions of 6GHz available on an unlicensed basis for Wi-Fi applications.

Wapa said research it conducted with the Dynamic Spectrum Alliance in South Africa found that releasing 1.2GHz at 6GHz for commercial Internet applications could deliver US$34.8-billion (R561.6-billion) in improved GDP over the next decade.

“Opening up 1.2GHz of spectrum would more than double the spectrum we have available in South Africa right now, even after the recent spectrum auction,” said Colmer.

The Wi-Fi 6E band is broken up into two main portions: a lower band from 5 925MHz to 6 425MHz and an upper band from 6 425MHz to 7 125MHz. The Dynamic Spectrum Alliance has urged governments to provide unlicensed access to 700MHz of the upper band.  – © 2022 NewsCentral Media