WAPA seeks clarity on VANS Self Provisioning

April 7, 2008

Press Release by the Wireless Access Providers’ Association,
Monday 7 April, Cape Town

The Wireless Access Providers’ Association (WAPA) has launched legal action, seeking a high court declaratory order to clarify the rights of Value Added Network Service Provider (VANS) licensees.

May VANS license holders build their own network infrastructure?

This has been a topic of debate for a while and is probably the most important question in the introduction of competition in South Africa’s historically monopolistic telecommunications market.

Should the outcome of the declaratory process match WAPA’s expectations, we will see the true vision behind the Electronic Communications Act (ECA) realised. Moving away from old silo’ed licensing model to an open, technology agnostic, broader competitive environment.

The rights of VANS license holders are of key importance in ICASA’s ongoing license conversion process. The ECA states that VANS licenses will be converted to a new license with equal or more rights.

WAPA’s membership has a strong conviction that clarity on self-provisioning is needed urgently, but views the declaratory order as a non-confrontational and positive step. WAPA believes clarity on the topic will be beneficial for all parties involved.

Under the ECA new licenses are defined which allow companies to build network infrastructure. WAPA members and other VANS license holders require these new Electronic Network Service Licenses (ECNS) to deploy their networks.

Should WAPA be successful in it’s legal action, VANS license holders will receive ECNS licenses and granted the right to build and deploy their own network infrastructure.

VANS have traditionally been smaller, more dynamic and entrepreneurial service providers. WAPA believes that empowering these companies will introduce competition in the market, lower costs of telecommunication services and benefit, businesses, consumers and the South African economy as a whole.

WAPA believes that the DoC and ICASA should support VANS and empower them to build infrastructure.

The WAPA membership base is known for it’s pro-active and pioneering work in deploying much needed wireless infrastructure. WAPA again takes the lead in ensuring a future for independent network providers, allowing them to deploy infrastructure in an open market.

To get involved and support WAPA’s legal efforts, contact WAPA: http://www.wapa.org.za/contact/

About WAPA:

The Wireless Access Providers’ Association (WAPA) is a non-profit industry body established in November 2006, which represents the interests of the South African wireless community. The group has two main objectives: To ensure fair industry regulation and to create an open and competitive environment through effective self-regulation.

WAPA strives to ensure the sustainability of the Wireless Access Service industry, including: WISPS, Equipment Vendors and network infrastructure providers. WAPA is primarily concerned with the the 5.8GHz ISM band used for outdoor fixed wireless services.

WAPA gives members the opportunity to share knowledge as well as providing a vehicle for co-operation, dispute resolution and consumer protection within the industry. Currently, the organisation has 37 members.

Learn more about WAPA, visit: www.wapa.org.za