Spectrum Management

South Africa: ICASA Extends Emergency Spectrum Allocation By Two Months

Industry sources are reporting that as a result of an interdict initiated by Telkom and e.tv, which prevents the occurrence of the previously planned spectrum auction, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has extended its temporary spectrum allocation by two months.  

The temporary solution, which falls under South Africa’s disaster management regulations, will be effective from 31 March 2021 – 31 May 2021. It will provide some relief to operators that would have been assigned a new spectrum suitable for 4G and 5G services through the auction process.

Recalling previous reports, the High Court handed down an order in Pretoria which interdicted ICASA from assessing and adjudicating application received under its invitation-to-apply to participate in the spectrum auction. Telkom was the initiator of the file against ICASA because it believed the regulator’s invitation-to-apply for the spectrum auction was fundamentally flawed.

In a statement, the authority said post the temporary extension on 31 May 2021; it will task a full review of the ICT Covid-19 national disaster regulations, including radiofrequency spectrum extensions and the relaxation of compliance requirements regarding local content for broadcasters and type-approval obligations.

Keabetswe Modimoeng, the ICASA Chairman, said ICASA would be applying itself on the extension to ensure it is to benefit the South African public and support the mobile operators who continue to provide services while deriving commercial value from its high-value spectrum resources.

While we expedite our appeal process on the formal licensing court interdict, we will be consulting with the industry to assist the process by proposing the best consumer-focused offering, said ICASA.


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