Icasa plans to hold spectrum auction in early 2024

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) plans to hold another auction for high-demand spectrum in early 2024.

This is according to Dr Charley Lewis, chair of the committee that recently finalised the regulator’s latest Radio Frequency Spectrum Assignment Plans (RFSAPs).

Lewis made his remarks in the context of Icasa publishing three final assignment plans for radio frequencies suitable for International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT) networks, including 3G, 4G, 5G, and beyond.

The regulator said the finalisation of these three Radio Frequency Spectrum Assignment Plans (RFSAPs) brings to a close a process initiated on 31 March 2022.

It has now concluded a full set of ten RFSAPs, starting with a public notice and going through public consultations.

The first seven frequency plans were finalised and published in December 2022.

Icasa then published second drafts of the remaining three to solicit additional public comments.

The three bands that have now been finalised are:

  • 450 MHz to 470 MHz (IMT450)
  • 825 MHz to 830 MHz and 870 MHz to 875 MHz (IMT850)
  • 1427 MHz to 1518 MHz (IMT1500)

The seven bands that were finalised last year are:

  • 703 to 733 MHz and 758 to 788 MHz (IMT700);
  • 733 MHz to 758 MHz (IMT750);
  • 791 to 821 MHz and 832 to 862 MHz (IMT800);
  • 880 MHz to 915 MHz and 925 MHz to 960 MHz (IMT900);
  • 2300 MHz to 2400 MHz (IMT2300);
  • 3300 MHz to 3400 MHz (IMT3300); and
  • 3400 MHz to 3600 MHz (IMT3500).

“The finalisation of the current set of ten Radio Frequency Spectrum Assignment Plans marks a key milestone in making sufficient spectrum available to licensees, on a technology-neutral basis, in order to enable the rollout and uptake of 4G and 5G services across South Africa,” said Lewis.

It also frees up important additional spectrum for the auction Icasa is currently planning to hold in early 2024.

“Icasa is already considering additional spectrum bands for further public consultation in the form of a new round of Radio Frequency Spectrum Assignment Plans,” he added.

“A forward-looking approach to spectrum is vital to enable the development of new services to meet the evolving demands of the market.”

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Icasa plans to hold spectrum auction in early 2024