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ICASA set to auction more high-demand spectrum

In March, ICASA raised R14.4 billion from the country’s historic spectrum auction process. The auction involved six qualified bidders: Cell C, Liquid Intelligent Technologies, MTN, Rain Networks, Telkom and Vodacom.

ICASA had set itself a target of R8 billion from the proceeds of the auction, which had been up in the air for some years.

The allocation of high-demand spectrum by means of an auction is key among the South African government’s economic structural reforms, as the state looks to boost the fiscus.

In a statement this week, ICASA says each RFSAP sets out migration arrangements, co-ordination requirements and the method of assignment.

According to ICASA, some of the RFSAPs formalise the arrangements for the spectrum already assigned in the 2022 high-demand spectrum auction.

Others identify new high-demand spectrum that the authority intends to make available for IMT services in the near future, it adds.

Together, these RFSAPs will achieve a 215% increase in the high-demand spectrum available for licensing through a competitive process, says the authority.

These seven RFSAPs span “low” and “medium” frequencies between the ranges 700MHz to 3 600MHz.

The spectrum bands thus covered have now been earmarked for their highest value use as key enablers for the deployment of IMT technologies and services, including 4G, 5G and beyond, ICASA notes.

The regulator explains that the planned assignment of these bands to their highest-value users via a competitive auction process will provide an important stimulus to the further development and deployment of mobile services, to reducing the cost to communicate, to increasing universal access and service and to providing users with a wide range of value-added services.

The authority will shortly engage in further consultations on three additional bands, namely:

  • 450 MHz to 470 MHz (IMT450);
  • 825 MHz to 830 MHz and 870 MHz to 875 MHz (IMT850); and
  • 1427 MHz to 1518 MHz (IMT1400).

“Finalising these Radio Frequency Spectrum Assignment Plans marks an important milestone in the allocation and assignment of high-demand spectrum for mobile communications services, applications and content,” says committee chairperson Dr Charley Lewis.

“The authority is determined to push ahead with identifying and making available further spectrum as an important contribution to economic growth, job creation and social development.” ITWeb

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