ICASA multiband auction surpasses ZAR8 billion; WOAN project to be scrapped

14 Mar 2022

The main stage of South Africa’s auction of mobile broadband spectrum, which started on 10 March 2022 and is expected to continue this week, has so far raised more than the ZAR8 billion (USD531 million) originally projected, ICASA said. TechCentral reports that Telkom South Africa and Rain secured access to spectrum during an opt-in round of the auction that netted ZAR2.7 billion: Rain agreed to pay ZAR1.15 billion for two blocks of 10MHz in the 700MHz band and 10MHz in the 2.6GHz band, while Telkom agreed to pay ZAR1.5 billion for two blocks of 10MHz in the 800MHz band.

Meanwhile, ICASA also said in its statement that it has ‘noted’ the cabinet’s announcement to no longer seek the licensing of a wholesale open-access network (WOAN), which could see the shelving of the controversial project. ICASA said: ‘The authority had already started the process of revisiting the WOAN and its related business case and will consider the policymaker’s latest position on this matter.’

As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in February 2022 ICASA announced the names of the six qualifying bidders ahead of its multi-band spectrum auction in March. The companies in question were Cell C, Liquid Telecom, MTN South Africa, Rain Networks, Telkom and Vodacom South Africa. The in-person, single-round opt-in auction commenced on 8 March 2022, with the main online auction starting on 10 March 2022.