President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers his fifth State of the Nation address in strict adherence to the National State of Disaster regulations and in the form of a hybrid joint sitting, with at least no more than 50 members of parliament, representatives from the judiciary and the executive in the physical chamber and the rest of this category attended virtually. Date: Frebruary 11, 2021. Picture: ESA ALEXANDER/POOL

President Cyril Ramaphosa during his State of the Nation Address (SONA) said he noted the licensing of spectrum and the ongoing legal battles that have followed after the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) set the ball rolling for the spectrum auction.

The president said that the process for the licensing of high-speed spectrum is at an advanced stage.

“We hope the ongoing litigation amongst interested parties or the licensing measures will provide certainty and will not unduly delay the spectrum auction process that we have decided on,” the president said.

Late last year, ICASA announced the invitation to apply for the licensing of International Mobile Telecommunications spectrum, also known as high-demand spectrum, and that of the wholesale open access network.

However, some mobile telcos have approached the courts in a bid to halt the process which is earmarked for March.

Last month, MTN filed an application in the Gauteng High Court to declare unlawful, and to review, correct or set aside two decisions made by ICASA which relate to the spectrum auction process.

In December last year, Telkom also filed an urgent court application, saying it considers the regulator’s decisions to be irregular and unlawful.

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