Icasa laments licensing delay

Business

Johannesburg – The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) has had to delay the licensing of high-demand spectrum following Telkom’s court victory to have the process interdicted, it said yesterday.

Icasa said the delay would have huge implications in terms of competition in the mobile services market and the reduction of the cost to communicate, particularly data costs for consumers and business.

“For as long as there is an interdict in place, South Africans will continue to bear the brunt for high data costs, ineffective competition and a deprived economy. But Icasa remains confident and forward-looking to ensure that South Africans ultimately benefit from this licensing process,” said Icasa.

The company was scheduled to auction high-demand spectrum at the end of this month. However, an order by the Gauteng High Court has interdicted the process.

In the order, Icasa was also restrained from proceeding with the auction process pending the final determination of Telkom’s application to review Icasa’s decision to publish the two Invitations To Apply (ITAs).

Icasa chairperson Keabetswe Modomoeng said although the authority was dismayed by the decision, it remained resolute that the licensing process shall be finalised in due course.

“We have never been so close to licensing a high-demand spectrum. We were literally three weeks away from auctioning this much-needed resource that would have seen South Africans benefit through this process in terms of reduced data costs and improvement in quality of service and experience. In commitment to our public interest mandate, the council of Icasa has resolved to exhaust all legal avenues in respect of this process,” Modimoeng said.

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