The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has issued temporary spectrum to Vodacom, MTN, Telkom, Rain, and Liquid Telecom.
Mthinte Communications, Levin Global, and Morai Solutions have also received permission to use Television Whitespaces (TVWS) spectrum in the 470MHz – 694MHz band.
Last week, ICASA published its ICT COVID-19 National Disaster Regulations, which gave guidelines on the temporary assignment of spectrum.
This spectrum will be released for the duration of the national state of disaster and is expected to ease network congestion.
It should also enable operators to maintain the quality of broadband services and lower the cost of access to consumers.
Five spectrum bands were made available for temporary assignment: 700MHz, 800MHz, 2,300MHz, 2,600MHz, and 3,500MHz.
ICASA said it received 35 applications for the temporary assignment of radio frequency spectrum.
Of the applications received, only 17 were found to be in line with the criteria and conditions outlined in the regulations.
Here is who will get spectrum
The regulator has now completed its analysis of the applications and has assigned spectrum to five operators.
- 700MHz and 800MHz – Telkom, MTN, and Vodacom get 40MHz each.
- 2,300MHz – Telkom and Vodacom get 20MHz each.
- 2,600MHz – Telkom gets 40MHz, Vodacom and MTN get 50MHz each, Rain gets 30MHz.
- 3,500MHz – Telkom gets 12MHz, Vodacom and MTN get 50MHz each, Liquid Telecom gets 4MHz.
- Television Whitespaces (TVWS) – Mthinte Communications, Levin Global, and Morai Solutions can use TVWS in the 470MHz – 694MHz band.
ICASA said it “exercised extreme care in the assignment of this temporary spectrum to existing licensees to achieve the objectives of the COVID-19 Regulations”.
The regulations, it said, are aimed at alleviating network challenges, easing congestion, and ensuring good quality of service for consumers.
“In most of these assignments, applicants were granted additional spectrum as applied for,” ICASA said.
“However, there are a few exceptional cases where the Authority had to apply practical and non-discriminatory principles to ensure that no licensee is prejudiced.”