A+ A A-

The Wireless Access Providers’ Association (WAPA) congratulates one of its members, Internet Solutions, on the recent launch of its open access carrier-grade Wi-Fi network at the Cradlestone Mall in Mogale City near the Cradle of Humankind.


‘Carrier-grade’ is an industry term referring to Wi-Fi networks that are on par with mobile networks in terms of speed and reliability. The industry has been abuzz lately with talk of carrier-grade Wi-Fi and mobile carrier ‘offload’ to Wi-Fi, which delivers data services to the user’s smartphone seamlessly via Wi-Fi, rather than via a mobile technology like 3G or LTE.


Wi-Fi is in fact a wholly complementary technology to mobile technologies and WAPA expects to see a massive growth in carrier Wi-Fi in South Africa in 2014 and beyond.


Wi-Fi uses licence-exempt spectrum, which is highly prone to interference when there are multiple Wi-Fi networks in the same physical location. The most reliable and cost-effective way for multiple parties to provide Wi-Fi services in the same space, is to create a wholesale open access Wi-Fi network, for data provisioning and value-added services alike. Best-of-breed solutions delivering both value to venues, such as predictive analytics, and value to customers, like location-based loyalty solutions, will spread faster if network operators opt to wholesale their network.


According to WAPA Deputy Chairperson and Wi-Fi champion Ellie Hagopian, “Licence-exempt spectrum should remain just that, and not become the playground of incumbents who use their size to buy multi-year exclusive leases in key areas for self-utilisation or in order to partner with incumbents to use licence-exempt Wi-Fi solely for 'offload' from licensed bands. On the other hand, open access networks such as at the Cradlestone Mall benefit the entire industry.”


Just as building a carrier-grade network is far from straightforward, to provide open access in a secure, reliable manner requires understanding and complying with best practices. WAPA plans to lead a cross-industry collaboration in 2014 to define both technical and business best practices for open access carrier-grade Wi-Fi networks. More details on this will be forthcoming early next year.


WAPA has taken notice of the recent formation of the Wi-Fi Forum of South Africa and applauds its aims, which are aligned with WAPA’s own. Mohammad Patel, WAPA Chairperson, calls on the Wi-Fi Forum to collaborate with WAPA to promote open access, going further to state: “We call on any members of the Wi-Fi Forum that are not WAPA members to join our community, so that collectively we can promote industry best practices and lobby for open access.”

The Wireless Access Providers’ Association (WAPA), a non-profit organisation acting as a collective voice for independent wireless operators in South Africa, announces its executive committee for 2014.


WAPA has identified that challenges facing the industry include unfair competition from large incumbent operators and a lack of awareness about the capabilities of wireless technologies and the benefits that WAPA members bring to the market.


The incoming executive committee has decided on several key strategic objectives for 2014. These include providing value-added services for members such as strategic partnerships and education about best practices, as well as engaging in lobbying and external communications in order to promote fair and open competition and promoting the growth of the wireless industry, both fixed wireless and Wi-Fi.


Mohammed Patel is taking over as Chairperson from Christopher Geerdts, who is stepping down after two years at the helm. According to Patel, Geerdts’ contribution and commitment has been invaluable and he looks forward to leading WAPA to the next level.


Geerdts says: “Patel is a respected member of the telecommunications industry, with over 18 years of experience. His strategic insights and negotiating skills are well known in the industry, and will be invaluable in helping WAPA to achieve its aims.”


2014 Objectives:

  • Providing a one-stop-shop for technical, regulatory, and industry best practices for members
  • Proactively building awareness of services available via the fixed wireless and Wi-Fi industry
  • Continuing to lead the discussion amongst stakeholders such as the policy-maker, regulator and the media and the press around key factors affecting the industry such as spectrum policy, and fair and open competition.


Mohammed-Patel---WAPA-webPatel concludes, “Being Chairperson of WAPA is a great privilege but with it also comes responsibility. The wireless industry has many challenges, especially in terms of licensed frequency. As an industry body we can definitely make a difference, by lobbying the Department of Communications to open up more frequency channels for Wireless Service Providers. I look forward to the year ahead and believe as a team we can make an impact to the benefit of our members.”


Patel will be joined on the committee by:

Ellie Hagopian: Deputy Chair, Communications, Wi-Fi

Ziggy Heuer: Treasurer

Ian Anderson: Business Enablement

Jabulani Vilakazi: Development

Jens Lagenhorst: Spectrum

Kerry Simpson: Marketing

Rudolph Roos: Training, Health & Safety

Client Press Offices

SAPA South African Payroll Association (SAPA)


TheSALeader pressoffice white


Copyright © 2013 gdmc (Geoffrey Dean Marketing Corporation cc). All rights reserved. Material may not be published or reproduced in any form without prior written permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy. External links are provided for reference purposes. SALeader.co.za is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites.

Login or Subscribe