More 4G and 5G spectrum for South Africa

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) has announced the allocation of the IMT2300 frequency band solely for use in cellular networks.

As a result, all non-International Mobile Communications (IMT) must be cleared from the band by 31 May 2024, with one aeronautical exception.

Icasa published the radio frequency assignment plan for the IMT2300 band in the Government Gazette on 15 May 2024.

The IMT2300 band ranges between 2300MHz and 2400MHz and will be used for IMT-Time Divison Duplex (TDD).

Telkom is currently assigned the first 60MHz of the band, so the remaining 40MHz will be assigned by prospective licensees being invited to apply.

The spectrum will be assigned for 3G, 4G, 5G, and other IMT use.

However, South Africa is phasing out 3G services, so it is unclear whether the older technology will featured in this band.

Because it is a TDD network, adjacent TDD networks should be synchronised with the uplink and downlink frames aligned in time to avoid interference.

This also ensures the efficient use of the spectrum resources.

The Gazette states that systems seeking an assignment of the spectrum need to promote spectral efficiency.

Therefore, Icasa encourages using capacity-enhancing digital techniques to promote efficient spectrum use.

Icasa said that all non-IMT services are to be cleared from the spectrum, except Aeronautical Mobile Flight Testing in the FAR147 area, as the band will be strictly used for IMT purposes.

Prospective spectrum licensees must note that if their radio system causes harmful interference to other radio stations or systems, they will be responsible for modifying it.

The spectrum will be coordinated according to the Harmonised Calculation Method for Africa (HCM4A) Agreement to ensure no interference with the spectra of other Sub-Saharan countries.

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More 4G and 5G spectrum for South Africa