Cell C worried about high prices, government support for spectrum auction

Cell C said it is concerned about a lack of clear policy directive from the government regarding ICASA’s issuing of an invitation to apply for spectrum.

ICASA recently issued an invitation to apply for in-demand radio frequency spectrum.

Mobile operators in South Africa have long argued that spectrum in the 700MHz, 800MHz, and 2,600MHz bands would be ideal for rolling out their LTE networks.

Cell C’s Chief Legal Officer Graham Mackinnon said the issuing of the spectrum auction invitation may create “unnecessary tension”.

“We know for a fact that the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services is in the process of finalising its policy in this regard and so by issuing the [invitation] before this is finalised, may create unnecessary tension,” he said.

He said operators need the spectrum on offer, but the allocation of the resource “needs to be done with the buy-in of all stakeholders”, including the government.

“On an initial reading, the timetable seems quite rushed and the reserve price for the spectrum lots appears high, especially as the spectrum lots are not equally valuable.”

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Cell C worried about high prices, government support for spectrum auction