Independent Online

Sunday, July 3, 2022

Like us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterView weather by locationView market indicators

SA closer to spectrum licence availability as Telkom settles with Icasa

TELKOM says it has entered, in good faith, into a forward-looking settlement providing Icasa the opportunity to resolve current market challenges identified by competition authorities while allowing operators to focus on the business of providing superior service to their customers. | Tracey Adams African News Agency ANA

TELKOM says it has entered, in good faith, into a forward-looking settlement providing Icasa the opportunity to resolve current market challenges identified by competition authorities while allowing operators to focus on the business of providing superior service to their customers. | Tracey Adams African News Agency ANA

Published Apr 11, 2022

Share

MINISTER of Communications and Digital Technologies Khumbudzo Ntshavheni on Friday welcomed Telkom’s out-of-court settlement with the country’s communications regulator, saying this brought South Africa a step closer to the availability of spectrum licences by July 1.

“The release of spectrum to the industry will help our country to bridge the digital divide necessary to catapult socio-economic development of our beloved country for the benefit of all the people of South Africa,” Ntshavheni said.

Story continues below Advertisement

This as South African mobile operators have been waiting for more than a decade for the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) to release new spectrum licences, which will lower data costs, expand network capacity and the roll-out of 5G.

Last month Icasa announced that it had raised R14.4 billion from the high-demand radio frequency spectrum auction, which involved six qualified bidders: Cell C, Liquid Intelligent Technologies, MTN, Rain Networks, Telkom and Vodacom.

Telkom said on Friday that the settlement brought to an end the high court litigation over the licensing of high-demand spectrum.

Story continues below Advertisement

“The settlement addresses the two principal complaints that led to Telkom adopting the legal route, namely the unfair restriction on Telkom to bid for spectrum in the past auction and the need for Icasa to consider the competitive effect of spectrum arrangements in the licensing of unassigned spectrum,” the company said.

The parties had agreed that Telkom would withdraw the court application and that each party would pay its own legal costs. In return, Icasa had undertaken to commence with the licensing of the spectrum that remained unassigned in the auction by June 30 and that this licensing process would be concluded within the current financial year.

Icasa, in its licensing of the unassigned 800MHz, would have regard to the outcome of the auction, the imbalances in the sub-1GHz and the need to promote competition in the post-auction dispensation as well as conduct a study on the impact of a possible secondary market of spectrum on competition and, if necessary, provide an adequate and enabling regulatory framework.

Story continues below Advertisement

Telkom said it had entered, in good faith, into a forward-looking settlement providing Icasa the opportunity to resolve current market challenges identified by competition authorities while allowing operators to focus on the business of providing superior service to their customers.

Nic Laschinger, the chief technology officer of Euphoria Telecom, explained that the release of spectrum would lead to cost reductions.

“Call quality should improve as high-speed bandwidth becomes more widely available. This will be particularly significant outside the major centres, where it will enable people in those areas to do things that require high-speed internet, like online learning and collaboration.

Story continues below Advertisement

“This will have social and economic implications, especially for smaller towns which can benefit from providing remote services and - now that they’re connected - attract visitors and professionals looking to semigrate from the big cities,” he said.

Icasa this month also published proposed amendments for mobile networks in South Africa, with new regulations on voice, SMS and data services.

Some changes identified included that unused data and data services obtained through either prepaid or contract would have an expiration date of six months, except for promotional packages, while unused voice and SMS services obtained through either prepaid or contract would also have an expiration date of six months, except for promotional packages.

BUSINESS REPORT

Related Topics:

Share