Telecoms, Datacoms, Wireless, IoT


ICASA bows to pressure over spectrum licencing

25 August 2021 Telecoms, Datacoms, Wireless, IoT

Having failed to reach an out-of-court settlement with telecommunications companies over its wireless spectrum auction process, ICASA has now decided to consent to a High Court order so as to avoid a long-drawn-out litigation. This comes after months of failed negotiations over the litigants’ challenge to ICASA’s decision to invite applications for high-demand spectrum licences and for a licence to operate a wireless open access network (WOAN).

This means that the licencing of high-demand spectrum and the WOAN will now be reconsidered by ICASA, taking into consideration the issues raised by the litigants – such as the completion of the broadcasting digital migration process and the assessment of competition in the ICT sector.

To this end, the authority has filed its proposed consent order with the High Court, which litigants can either accept or file papers to oppose. The matter is set down for 15 September 2021, at which point any arguments against ICASA’s consent order will be heard.

The Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies has since committed to completing the broadcasting digital migration process and related processes within five months from the date on which the order is made. This will remove one of the perceived impediments to the process of licencing high-demand spectrum and the WOAN.

The chairperson of ICASA, Dr Keabetswe Modimoeng, expressed his concerns over new, unrelated issues that were raised by the litigants during negotiations. He further said that, should parties confine themselves to the matters currently on the table, the auction of high-demand spectrum can take place by the end of January 2022.

For more information visit www.icasa.org.za




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