South Africa spectrum auction to happen within a month
South Africa’s spectrum auction will begin the public auction of its high frequency digital spectrum within a month, President Cyril Ramaphosa said.
He said the country is moving to expand access to internet services despite ongoing tension between regulator ICASA and the major operators in South Africa.
Spectrum allocation has seen slow progress in the country and Telkom, one of the country’s largest operators, has sought further delays.
In November ICASA called for operators to apply for the provisional assignment of frequency, hoping to begin a spectrum auction soon.
Despite this, though, the regulator remains embroiled in bitter disputes with South African operators, particularly Telkom.
Telkom will meet ICASA in court in mid-April after Telkom took issue with the regulator including sub-1GHz spectrum in the intended auction.
Telkom pointed out that this is the subjected of a legal challenge and has requested a review of ICASA’s decision to publish the invitation to apply (ITA) for spectrum.
In October, it was revealed that Vodacom and MTN would join Telkom’s case over plans to remove temporarily allocated spectrum.
Mobile operators in South Africa were granted additional spectrum as part of a relief plan during the Covid-19 pandemic but ICASA ruled that the spectrum must be returned by November.
All three of South Africa’s largest telcos are pursuing legal action as a result.