Telecoms, Datacoms, Wireless, IoT


ICASA grants final grace period for temporary spectrum holders

25 August 2021 Telecoms, Datacoms, Wireless, IoT

The Council of ICASA (Independent Communications Authority of South Africa) has resolved that licencees of temporary emergency radio frequency spectrum that was assigned last year will have their spectrum assignments revoked by no later than 30 November this year.

The temporary spectrum was first assigned by means of an expedited process during April 2020 on the initial declaration of the National State of Disaster, which in turn was occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic. ICASA has since twice extended the duration of the temporary assignment, the last expiry date being 31 August 2021.

ICASA says it has, inter alia, taken into account the current environment in relation to the number of infections, the gradual reopening of the economy and the steady progress in the vaccination programme. It classified the need to focus its efforts on the permanent licencing of spectrum as a more important factor, while acknowledging the need to allow the industry adequate time to plan and adjust its operations.

According to the chairperson of ICASA, Dr Keabetswe Modimoeng, ‘‘The Authority’s interventions with regards to the release of the temporary radio frequency spectrum have indeed contributed immensely to the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic and to ensuring that South Africans were and continue to be, able to communicate during these unprecedented times. However, the Authority cannot allow the temporary spectrum assignment to assume a state of permanence.”

He went on to say that, having allowed operators to use the temporarily assigned spectrum for a period of 17 months, it is reasonable that they be allowed a further three months until 30 November 2021 as a sufficient winding-down period.

In order to allow the licencees to wind down their operations on the temporary spectrum and to notify consumers about the impact thereof (if any) on their service offerings, ICASA has resolved to amend the Covid-19 National Disaster Regulations to provide for continued use of the temporary radio frequency spectrum licences for the period ending 30 November 2021.

For more information visit www.icasa.org.za




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