ICASA to hold auction for high demand spectrum by 31 March 2021

4 Sep 2020

South Africa’s telecoms regulator ICASA has informed operators that the auction for high demand spectrum will now be held no later than 31 March 2021, three months later than the previously announced December 2020 deadline. TechCentral writes that an Invitation to Apply (IoA) for the Wireless Open Access Network (WOAN) and the IMT spectrum will be published by 30 September 2020. ICASA plans to license the 700MHz and 800MHz bands (‘digital dividend’ frequencies, which are currently occupied by analogue television broadcasters), alongside spectrum in the 2300MHz, 2600MHz and 3500MHz bands. Specifically, ICASA plans to award 60MHz (2×30MHz) in the 700MHz band, 60MHz (2×30MHz) in the 800MHz band, 40MHz in the 2300MHz band, 170MHz in the 2600MHz band, and 116MHz in the 3500MHz band. The spectrum will be awarded on a national basis and the reserve price for each lot will be different. Successful bidders will be required to provide data services across the country with average down/upload speeds of 30Mbps/15Mbps by 2025; provide open access to a minimum of three MVNOs; and buy a minimum of 30% of national capacity from the WOAN for a period of at least five years.