Amobia and Frogfoot receive I-ECNS licences

Amobia and Frogfoot are both on the list of the 27 VANS who will have their licences converted to Individual ECS and Individual ECNS licenses this month. This list was published in the Government Gazette on Friday.

..2 out of 27 ain’t bad (-;

For those who have not been keeping up with current events.. an I-ECNS licence is the same license Telkom, Neotel and the major GSM providers will have. Yes, it’s a big deal.

ITWeb Article: ICASA resumes licence conversions

Individual ECS and ECNS licence-holders, in terms of schedule A of ICASA’s regulations, can receive their licences from 22 to 30 September.

Schedule A licence-holders consist of a list of 27 companies that includes Altech Autopage, Amobia Communications, MTN Network Solutions and Internet Solutions.

It’s been a long and interesting battle on many levels to get to this point. WAPA took the initiative by first seeking clarity on the rights of VANS. Long hours of writing business plans as part of the ECA conversion process. Lobbying, spreading the word, PR, blogging and general bitching and moaning. A whole industry collectively knowing the right answer, holding its breath for ICASA and the DoC to “do the right thing”..

..and then, we won.

Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you? Hmm? And well you should not. For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is. — Yoda

A victory for the little guy. Victory for the forces of reason and progress.

I have to confess to a few feelings of disbelief when I finally read Amobia and Frogfoot’s names in the Government Gazette. Did IQ’s just skyrocket? Did common sense somehow penetrate the confused minds defining policy in the local telecoms market?

In some ways the news that VANS can self provide is almost too obvious and logical. Do you remember when VoIP was illegal in South Africa? Do you remember when it was illegal for VANS to build (wireless) network infrastructure?

So now that we have all this freedom, all these new options.. what next?

We have to create an environment to nurture our young network infrastructure providers. A few supporting projects will be important to our new IECNS players:

  • Undersea cables and open/neutral landing sites for undersea cables
  • Infraco or other national dark fibre or layer 2 fibre networks
  • City dark fibre projects for Metro Ethernet
  • Vendor neutral datacentres
  • Peering points
  • WAPA’s self regulation and management of ISM frequency spectrum
  • Efficient usage of national frequency spectrum resources
  • Clear policies on how to gain access to municipal property and highsites

I’m working on 3 of the above.

We should see much more pressure on ISM frequency spectrum soon. I’m hoping ICASA will see the light and allow WAPA to play a more active role in keeping the ISM wireless access market sustainable.

Internet Solutions joined WAPA this week and WAPA now has 40+ members. WAPA will have to up its game.

You could say that the WISPs have had an advantage because of the past regulatory uncertainty and their appetite for risk. A small number of WISPs (or outdoor fixed wireless providers) like Amobia now have networks of national scale.

Some will say this is a good time to sell these businesses to larger players in the market.. and some will say the new regulatory environment opens a door to major investment. Amobia will have to up its game.

Interesting times.

7 thoughts on “Amobia and Frogfoot receive I-ECNS licences

  1. Hi J

    Yes..

    To provide data and voice you need an Individual ECS license.. we’ve know that we would get that for a while now (6mnts).

    The interesting part about this news is the N in ECNS (Network).

    An IECNS license allows us to build our own infrastructure, think wireless networks, fibre, metro ethernet.. and allows us the apply for our own frequency spectrum.

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