According to TechCentral, South African telecoms regulator the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) intends to reintroduce a stipulation that companies applying for access to radio frequency spectrum must have at least 30% of their equity in the hands of Historically Disadvantaged Individuals (HDI); the definition of HDI differs from traditional Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) rules since it includes women of all races and people with disabilities.
TechCentral reports that the move could see major telecoms players such as MTN and Vodacom sidelined in this year’s long-awaited auction for spectrum in the 2.6GHz and 3.5GHz bands. Although ICASA removed the 30% requirement in its last set of draft regulations – following heavy industry pressure – the new regulations are believed to be final. Whilst HDI stipulations are widely applied to ownership, it is thought that this is the first time that the clause has been applied to radio spectrum. The new regulations will not affect spectrum already held by South African operators, only frequencies they apply for in the future.