The new crisis that was looming on the horizon between telecom operators and the regulator has been avoided. After consultation, the two parties found common ground on the operation of the telecom frequencies granted during the Covid-19 crisis.
Telecom operators MTN, Vodacom Telkom and even Cell C, Rain Networks and Liquid Intelligent Technologies will use the interim high-speed telecom spectrum for another seven months. The South African Independent Communications Authority (Icasa) granted them, Friday, November 26, a license to use these resources in the 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 2300 MHz, 2600 MHz and 3500 MHz bands.
The license will officially enter into force on December 1, 2021 and its expiry date will end on June 30, 2022. Telkom emerges as the biggest winner of this allocation of temporary frequencies, followed by MTN and Vodacom.
Distribution of acquired frequencies by operator and by band
|Operator frequencies||700 MHz||800 MHz||2300 MHz||2600 MHz||3500 MHz|
|MTN||10MHz||10 MHz||40 MHz||40 MHz|
|Vodacom||10 MHz||10 MHz||40 MHz||40 MHz|
|Telkom||20 MHz||20 MHz||40 MHz||10 MHz||12 MHz|
|Cell C||20 MHz||20 MHz||20 MHz|
|Rain Networks||20 MHz||60 MHz|
|Liquid IT||4 MHz|
The chairman of the telecoms regulator, Keabetswe Modimoeng (photo), explained that “ this provisional spectrum allocation remains an interim measure, intended to improve communication services for consumers during the interim period, the objective being to grant a permanent spectrum license through an auction starting in March 2022 ”.
He also stressed that ” this phase of provisional licensing attempts to temporarily respond to competition problems and levy appropriate fees, but a more comprehensive regime will be obtained through a call for tenders .”
The various telecom operators holding provisional frequencies have again the possibility of providing very high speed to their consumers thanks to the blockade carried out by Telkom, MTN and Vodacom last October, after the telecoms regulator decided in August to take them back. frequencies.
Icasa believed that the Covid-19 crisis had passed, just like the emergency which had led to the allocation of these telecom resources on which Rain Networks, MTN and Vodacom launched 5G in the meantime, it was high time that these frequencies are retroceded pending their final auction. The operators had taken a stand in court, forcing Icasa to back down and seek a peaceful resolution of the situation.
According to Keabetswe Modimoeng, the Authority will collect in the short term around 200 million rand ($ 12.2 million) for the national tax authorities through the allocation of provisional frequencies. All licensees will indeed be required to pay a spectrum acquisition fee, as well as a user fee, in addition to the initial application fee.