South Africa’s operators will be able to make use of their emergency spectrum allocations for an additional two months after regulator ICASA (Independent Communications Authority of South Africa) delayed a scheduled multi-band auction.
The emergency allocations were issued under the South Africa’s disaster management protocols, and were set to expire at the end of March. They will now be extended until 31st May after the Pretoria High Court blocked ICASA from auctioning spectrum in the 700MHz, 800MHz, 2600MHz and 3500MHz bands.
As reported by CommsUpdate, the High Court ruling followed a December 2020 application by Telkom to review ICASA’s Invitations To Apply (ITAs) for spectrum and the Wireless Open Access Network (WOAN). Telkom argued that the process could be abused in such a way as to allow major firms MTN and Vodacom to shore up their dominance in the market.
In a statement, ICASA said: “Following the expiry of the temporary spectrum extension on 31 May 2021, the authority will embark on a comprehensive review of the ICT COVID-19 national disaster regulations, which include the radio frequency spectrum extensions, as well as the relaxation of compliance requirements in respect of local content for broadcasters, and type-approval obligations.”