Telkom withdraws urgent application to halt IMT spectrum auction

24 Jan 2022

Telkom has requested the removal of its urgent application to interdict ICASA from proceeding with Invitations To Apply (ITAs) for IMT spectrum. The company said: ‘Telkom has reached agreement with all the respondents on the need to expedite the hearing for part B of Telkom’s two-part application’, although it added that it ‘reserves its rights to reinstate the matter on short notice should it become necessary’. While ICASA reportedly informed Telkom and the respondents to the litigation that it intends to proceed with the previously announced timetable for the spectrum auction (8 March 2022), the High Court of Pretoria is yet to decide on the date for the hearing.

As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in early January 2022 Telkom filed High Court papers to block ICASA from proceeding with the IMT spectrum auction, claiming that the regulator ‘has not corrected many of the issues from its previous attempt’. The move was widely criticised by industry players, with Communications minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, Rain, MTN and Vodacom all subsequently challenging Telkom’s urgent application. MTN South Africa CEO Charles Molapisi said: ‘While the current ITA is not perfect, we believe the regulator has tried to strike a delicate balance for all players. We cannot have a repeat of 2021, where the entire process was delayed for another full year, and that on the back of 14 years of no additional spectrum being added to the industry.’