The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has issued several documents informing on its policies with regards to frequency spectrum, and inviting participation and comments from interested parties.
V and E bands
Responding to a number of enquiries and requests from telecommunication network operators and equipment suppliers for access to the V-band (57 – 66 GHz) and E-band (71 – 76 GHz paired with 81 – 86 GHz), the Authority has published a discussion document and is inviting written submission of comments from all interested stakeholders.
Since there has not been a suitable, technical, regulatory framework for the use of these bands to date, ICASA is investigating the possibility of putting in place such a framework in a manner which is effective and spectrum-efficient and to keep licensing delays to the bare minimum. It is proposing licence exemption where feasible and so-called ‘light licensing’ where full exemption is not feasible. Specifically, the proposals in the discussion document seek to introduce a licence-exempt approach for the V-band and a hybrid approach for the E-band.
Information memorandum for IMT spectrum
ICASA also published an information memorandum that provides guidance to prospective applicants regarding the process and criteria to be applied in the licensing of the International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT) spectrum. The memorandum is being published for comments providing information to prospective radio frequency spectrum applicants who want to offer mobile broadband, wireless access services for urban and rural areas using the complimentary bands IMT700, IMT800 and IMT2600 for purposes of providing national broadband wireless access services.
The Authority previously published the final IMT Roadmap which came into effect in November last year, and aims to ensure universal availability of broadband services as well as a vibrant and competitive telecommunications industry and promote investments. That roadmap formed the basis for the development of the Radio Frequency Spectrum Plans (RFSAP) for IMT Spectrum 2015.
It furthermore published the final RFSAP for IMT 2015 that provides conditions and requirements attached to the use of a frequency band in line with the allocation and further guidelines as mandated in the National Radio Frequency Plan (NRFP) 2013. These conditions include technical characteristics of radio systems, frequency channelling, coordination and details on required migration of existing users of the band and the expected assignment methods.
Commercial subscription broadcasting services on DTT
Also issued was an invitation to apply (ITA) for the radio frequency spectrum licence for the third digital terrestrial television (DTT3), referred to as multiplex 3 (MUX 3) in terms of the ‘Promotion of Diversity and Competition on Digital Terrestrial Television Regulations of 2014’. The successful applicant will be assigned 45% of MUX 3 capacity for commercial subscription television broadcasting services.
Applicants are required to submit by 30 November 2015 and must: be a television broadcasting service licensee as defined in the aforementioned regulations; and have a minimum of 30% ownership held by historically disadvantaged person(s) and/or a Level 4 Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) status.
For more information visit www.icasa.org.za
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