The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has formally withdrawn July 2016’s Invitation To Apply (ITA) for LTE-suitable spectrum in the 700MHz, 800MHz and 2.6GHz bands, as published in General Notice number 438 of 2016 under Government Gazette number 40145. The move paves the way for a fresh auction in the coming months (see below).
Last month, ICASA and Minister of Telecommunications Siyabonga Cwele agreed to settle a 2016 legal dispute that derailed plans to stage a multi-band spectrum auction. Back in August 2016, Minister Cwele filed an application to block the proposed auction after objecting to the terms of the ITA.
Going forward, the watchdog is expected to stage a new auction before the end of March 2019. Last week ICASA spokesperson Paseka Maleka told ITWeb: ‘There is no specific date for the auctioning of spectrum; however, it is ICASA’s intention to license the International Mobile Telecommunication (IMT) spectrum by no later than the end of the current financial year [31 March 2019]. We will share more information as the process unfolds.’