ICASA reviewing invitation to apply for LTE and 4G spectrum

The Independent Communications Authority Of South Africa (ICASA) has said that it is reviewing its invitation to apply (ITA) for high-demand frequency spectrum following a court ruling.

Mobile operators have said that the spectrum included in the auction would be ideal for 4G networks and rural roll-outs.

“Judge [Sutherland] concluded that ICASA cannot migrate the current non-mobile users without the Minister’s participation and an orderly process requires co-ordination between the Minister and ICASA,” the regulator said.

“The judgement states that the assignment of spectrum already assigned to other operators is therefore found to be possibly an irrational decision.”

Given the judge’s view, ICASA warned that it may not proceed with the ITA, pending the outcome of a review of the ruling.

Despite the judge’s finding that ICASA possibly acted irrationally in issuing the ITA, ICASA said it was pleased to note that its independence was asserted in the judgement.

“The Judge said that no cogent argument is shown why a Court should trump ICASA’s choice not to wait indefinitely for the Minister’s Policy to see the light of day,” ICASA said, referring to the spectrum policy for which it has been waiting for more than 5 years.

“Additionally, the Judge states that ICASA has not been shown to have breached any positive duty imposed on it to promote competition, and also that the onus to show an irregularity by ICASA was not satisfied.”

More on the fight for spectrum in South Africa

Cwele gets interdict against Icasa: 4G spectrum licensing must stop

Government wants to take Vodacom and MTN’s mobile spectrum back

Telkom considers suing Icasa over spectrum

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ICASA reviewing invitation to apply for LTE and 4G spectrum