The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has announced that Telkom has withdrawn part of its court application against it.
“Following the recent media reports about Telkom launching a court application in respect of the Invitation To Apply (ITA) for high demand spectrum or International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT) spectrum as well as the ITA for the Wireless Open Access Network (WOAN), the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) hereby informs all stakeholders that Telkom has decided to withdraw Part A of the court application,” the authority said in a statement.
“Part A of Telkom’s application was meant to compel the Authority to inform all parties who may have an interest in applying for spectrum licences through the International Mobile Telecommunications (Auction ITA) and the WOAN ITA of Telkom’s application.”
However, ICASA noted that Telkom is still proceeding with Part B and Part C of its application.
Telkom previously highlighted two key points in its court challenge against ICASA.
Firstly, the “digital dividend” bands of spectrum in the 700Mhz and 800MHz categories are not currently commercially viable, it said.
This is because broadcasters like MultiChoice, e.tv, and the SABC are still using those frequency bands for terrestrial television signals.
Secondly, Telkom argued that ICASA has not taken into account the lack of competition in South Africa’s cellular market.
ICASA said it remains committed to seeing this spectrum licensing process to its completion for the benefit of all South Africans.
“Our efforts are geared towards licensing the high demand spectrum through an auction by no later than the end of March 2021. We have adequately consulted relevant stakeholders and the public throughout this process and cannot do so to a point of regulatory paralysis,” said ICASA Chairperson Dr Keabetswe Modimoeng.
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