ICASA frees up emergency spectrum

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South Africa’s media and telecoms regulator ICASA with slices of new spectrum in order to “kick start” the economy during the Coronavirus shut-down and to maintain services in this high-demand period.

The spectrum is in portions of the bandwidth considered in the 700MHz, 800MHz, 2.3GHz, 2.6GHz and 3.5GHz bands.

The spectrum is being allocated on a temporary basis and the intention is to lower prices to consumers. Potential users have to submit their requests by April 9th.

“It is of critical importance to note that the emergency release of this spectrum does not, in any way whatsoever, negate the processes that are currently under way for the permanent assignment of spectrum through an auction,” said ICASA’s acting chairman Keabetswe Modimoeng. He stressed that the regulator still intends to finalise the full and permanent licensing process for use of the bandwidth by the year-end, along with spectrum to be set aside for a planned wireless open-access network.

“In light of the recent economic developments — particularly the country’s downgrade by rating agencies — the release of high-demand spectrum has become critical as it is one of the key interventions to stimulate economic recovery. The authority will take all measures necessary to ensure that the permanent licensing process for high-demand spectrum is expedited,” he added.


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