The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA/the Authority) has confirmed that it has reached an agreement with Telkom SOC Ltd (Telkom) in respect of the litigation instituted by Telkom against the high demand radio frequency spectrum licensing process.
The two parties have been having discussions to bring an end to the ongoing litigation due to be heard from 11 to 14 April 2022.
In terms of the settlement agreed by the parties, Telkom will not pursue the litigation any further. Conversely, the Authority has undertaken that it will issue an Information Memorandum (IM) by no later than 30 June 2022 for the licensing of:
a) the unsold sub-1 GHz Lot from the International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT) spectrum auction, and
b) any other IMT spectrum that is presently available for licensing except for the spectrum currently set-aside for the Wireless Open Access Network (WOAN).
In the licensing process in terms of the aforesaid IM, the Authority will consider the spectrum holdings emanating from the recently concluded auction, including the imbalances in the sub-1 GHz bands, and the impact of the outcome of the auction on competition in the mobile market. The Authority intends to conclude the envisaged licensing process by the end of March 2023.
Furthermore, the Authority has undertaken to conduct an inquiry into the existence of a secondary market for spectrum. This inquiry will consider the findings of the Mobile Broadband Services Inquiry as well as the outcome of the recently concluded auction and any spectrum arrangements emanating therefrom. The inquiry will include the assessment of whether there is a need for regulatory intervention.
The Chairperson of ICASA, Dr Keabetswe Modimoeng expresses his appreciation for the cordial manner in which Telkom conducted the engagements in pursuance of the settlement and is pleased that the matter can now be concluded.
“We are indeed happy to have reached this stage with Telkom. This is indeed an epitome of the power of cordial dialogue where everyone has the same vision of building an inclusive digital society. We look forward to a new chapter of our public interest regulatory work with this litigation finally behind us.”Dr Keabetswe Modimoeng, Chairperson, ICASA