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Spectrum auction back on the agenda?

10 Jan 2011

According to TechCentral, South Africa’s long-awaited auction for spectrum in the 2.6GHz and 3.5GHz bands, is set to recommence imminently, with the appointment of a specialist auctioneer now ready for discussion. Telecoms regulator the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has reportedly sent a list of potential auctioneers to communications minister Roy Padayachie, who will be charged with making the final decision. ICASA spokesman Paseka Malek added: ‘The authority is awaiting a response from the minister once he returns from leave’. The spectrum – which is suitable for the deployment of Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology – was originally scheduled to be auctioned in July 2010, but ICASA pulled the plug on the auction, indicating that it needed to revise the licences in line with certain technological considerations. ICASA also admitted that it was seeking an overseas auctioneer to assist it with the process, after struggling to find an appropriately qualified auctioneer locally. Under guidelines issued in May 2010, bidding will start at ZAR750,000 (USD109,417). ICASA requires 2.6GHz licensees to achieve population coverage of 50% within two years of being granted the spectrum.

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