Telecoms Regulation

South Africa: ICASA To Rollout Spectrum Licensing Process In April - Reports

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA), has announced that it will carefully manage all possible inter-dependencies when looking into options to allocate spectrum.

This comes as a legal battle has been brewing between ICASA and the Competition Commission (CompCom) over data pricing.

The trouble began in November after a damaging finding by the CompCom that Vodacom and MTN and are perpetuating South Africa’s high costs of data.
The preliminary evidence stated in the report suggests there is room for price reductions of approximately 30% to 50%.

Last week ICASA announced that the spectrum licensing process would start in April, after three months of public submissions.
The regulator said that in the context of considering the submissions received, ICASA would also be engaging with recommendations proposed by the CompCom in its Data Services Market Inquiry report where the recommendations pertain to the assignment of spectrum.

It notes that this approach is to ensure certainty and consistency in regulatory outcomes.

When issuing the policy direction, South Africa’s Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams said that she recognises that there are more than 400 players that have electronic communications network service licences but are unable to access spectrum, due to its scarcity.

She said that the Government is committed to maximising the socio-economic benefits that go hand-in-hand with the use of the spectrum and also recognises that a shared approach to the use of spectrum is necessary.

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