ICASA extends temporary spectrum allocations to May 2021

29 Mar 2021

South Africa’s telecoms regulator Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has extended the temporary allocation of emergency spectrum under South Africa’s disaster management regulations by two months (from 1 April to 31 May 2021), following the delay in the planned multi-band spectrum auction due to a legal challenge. Icasa said in a statement: ‘Following the expiry of the temporary spectrum extension on 31 May 2021, the authority will embark on a comprehensive review of the ICT COVID-19 national disaster regulations, which include the radio frequency spectrum extensions, as well as the relaxation of compliance requirements in respect of local content for broadcasters, and type-approval obligations.’

As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in late December 2020 Telkom filed an application with the High Court in Pretoria seeking an interdict to halt ICASA’s spectrum licensing process, claiming that ICASA’s Invitations To Apply (ITAs) for spectrum and the Wireless Open Access Network (WOAN) have fundamental flaws that could entrench the ‘dominance’ of market leaders Vodacom and MTN. Earlier this month, the High Court in Pretoria issued an interdict preventing ICASA from proceeding with the auction for high demand spectrum in the 700MHz, 800MHz, 2600MHz and 3500MHz bands, pending the final determination of Telkom’s application to review ICASA’s decision to publish the two ITAs.