Spectrum: Telkom Has No 'Locus Standi' With Lawsuit, Says ICASA Chair
The chairperson of the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA), Mr Keabetswe Modimoeng, has charged back at Telkom South Africa (a leading telecoms and media services provider) for seeking a court injunction to stop ICASA from moving forward with the planned spectrum licensing.
Recall that ICASA had issued an "invitation to apply" (ITA) for some of its key spectrum bands, including the 700MHZ and 800MHz bands still being used by analogue television broadcasters. Also, recall that Telkom had filed court papers to stop the entire process, because "ICASA's invitations to apply (ITAs) for spectrum and a planned wholesale open-access network (WOAN) had fundamental flaws that could entrench the "dominance" of Vodacom and MTN," according to a statement given to TechCentral by a Telkom Group executive.
ICASA says it rejects the Telkom's assertion, and in fact, believe that the company actually "has no right in law" to be seeking a court injunction to halt or delay the "crucial spectrum licensing process which South Africa needs to expand it 4G and 5G network infrastructure and capabilities.
A statement attributed to ICASA's Keabetswe Modimoeng stated that: "There is absolutely no constitutional basis for this court to grant the interim interdict (in) which Telkom seeks only to protect (its) own commercial interests to the disadvantage of the general population. The mere fact that ICASA arrived at a conclusion which is different from that which Telkom would have preferred … does not mean that ICASA's decisions are unlawful or that they are irrational. It shows that the decisions required ICASA to consider different policy objectives and balance competing interest."
The ICASA concluded that Telkom's action would end up embedding the very same "duopoly" market structure that it says it wants to avoid.