Speaking at LTE Africa in Cape Town this morning, Van Zyl said operators were struggling to deliver the best quality because the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) was not allocating spectrum.
He said: "We do need the spectrum. It is hindering our rollout, not just across the country, but the quality of services as well.
"We need to free up the 800Mhz spectrum. We are holding the country back by not releasing this spectrum. It is the one thing you cannot work without when in the mobile wireless environment. It is fighting a fight with one hand tied behind your back.'
Vodacom already has more than 600 LTE towers around the country and began its commercial services of high-speed wireless network in October last year.
Mark Redman, head of engineering for products and services at Smile Communications, said they had applied for the 800Mhz spectrum five years ago.
Echoing Van Zyl's comments, Redman said: "We would just ICASA to be more innovative. There is white spaces available and we would like to see the regulator release that."
Andre De Jager, general manager of products and services at MTC in Namibia, praised his country's regulator for enforcing a "use it or lose it" policy in regards to spectrum, and Van Zyl said he wanted ICASA to take the same approach.
"The operators can roll it (LTE) out already, but they need the spectrum to deliver the services."