The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) stated that it has received about 35 applications in response to its call for applications for a temporary assignment of radio frequency spectrum for wireless networks during South Africa’s national state of disaster.
ICASA said that it will announce its decisions next week (12 April–18 April 2020).
“The Authority would like to inform all stakeholders that it is currently applying its mind and analysing all applications to ensure compliance with the criteria and conditions stipulated in Annexure A of the Regulations,” ICASA said.
ICASA announced on 6 April that it will be licensing capacity in the following radio spectrum bands:
“We intend to take the necessary care in this regard; and to ensure that there are no irreversible anti-competitive effects for the market,” said Keabetswe Modimoeng, the acting chairperson of ICASA.
Those interested in using the spectrum were invited to apply for a temporary licence.
The regulator emphasised that the issuing of this temporary spectrum in no way negates the work it is busy doing to assign spectrum on a permanent basis by the end of 2020.
It also does not negate ICASA’s plans to set aside spectrum for the Wholesale Open Access Network, which it plans to licence at the end of 2021.
To apply for the spectrum, qualifying network operators are required to:
- Provide a network performance report before the COVID-19 outbreak with their currently assigned spectrum holding.
- Provide the current network performance.
- Indicate the areas that are highly constrained.
- Provide the network projections during the national lockdown.
- Indicate the band they require access to and the bandwidth required (for the immediate use only).
- Provide the modelled network performance with the additional spectrum they require.
- Provide benefits to be realized by the consumers (i.e. reduced data prices, free daily bundle to all the customers, Wi-Fi connectivity etc.).
This temporary spectrum assignment will be revoked on 30 November 2020, or three months after the end of South Africa’s national state of disaster, whichever comes first.