The Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) said it has received six applications for access to the country’s International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT) spectrum, in response to an invitation issued on October 2 2020.

MTN, Vodacom, Telkom, Cell C, Rain and Liquid all submitted applications to Icasa, which made available the IMT spectrum in the 700MHz, 800MHz, 2,600MHz, and 3,500MHz bands. An additional submission from Women Building a Better Society (WBBS) was not accepted as the application was submitted late.

“We are ready and committed to ensuring that we take the necessary care, and that the release of the spectrum and this process in general is procedurally fair and non-discriminatory,” said Icasa chair Keabetswe Modimoeng. “The authority remains committed to defending this important process against any form of litigation, with full appreciation of what the benefits of licensing high-demand spectrum will be for consumers and the public at large. We are unwavering in this regard.”

Last week, Telkom filed papers with the high court to halt the radio frequency spectrum auction saying Icasa’s process was flawed. Arthur Goldstuck, founder of technology research group World Wide Worx, described Telkom’s move as an attempt to “put the brakes on the future”.

Icasa added that it intends to hold an auction for the licensing of high-demand spectrum — radio waves that transmit information — by end-March 2021.

Icasa has previously outlined plans to auction R8bn worth of broadband spectrum following an almost decade-long delay in the process.


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