ICASA withdraws invitation for spectrum applications

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has withdrawn the invitations to apply (ITAs) for radio frequency spectrum licences in the 2,6 GHz and 3,5 GHz bands.

In a statement ICASA says that it has been inundated with letters and e-mails from the industry seeking clarity on the finer details of the assignment or licensing process after publication of the ITAs.

Regulator has considered their concerns and decided to continue with the regulations as is, but withdraw and revise the ITAs for 2.6 and 3.5 GHz.

"It is indeed the role of the Authority to position the information and communication technologies as a sector of choice for investors, both local and trans-national. In doing so, we have to make sure that the environment is viable, stable and certain. The issuing of new licences for these highly sought spectra should be matched by a roll-out of infrastructure to achieve universal service and access," said Chairperson, Dr Stephen Mncube in a press conference.

ICASA had published High Demand Spectrum regulations on 28 May 2010 and published 2 ITAs one reserved for the auctioning and assignment of 2.6GHz, and the other for the auctioning and assignment of 3.5GHz.

The initial deadline provided for the ITAs was 30 June. However the regulator subsequently postponed the deadline to 30 July in response to requests from members of the sector.

All South African operators Vodacom, MTN, Cell C, Neotel and Telkom are keen to get their hands on 2.6 GHz spectrum. Bidding was expected to start at R750,000 for 2.6 GHz spectrum.

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