South Africa’s spectrum regulator, ICASA, has awarded spectrum licences to a cluster of smaller operators but not to the nation’s established players. The new bandwidth is likely to be used for 5G services.
Newcomers Comsol Networks, Nthinte Communications, Real Time Communications, Marion Technology and One Telecom have reportedly been granted 60 MHz of bandwidth each in the 3.6-3.8 GHz bands.
The existing satellite-based C-band users of the same bandwidth are expected to co-exist with the new licensees.
Inevitably there are complaints from existing cellular operators but ICASA insists that it is following South Africa’s national radio frequency plan, from 2018.
However, the well-established existing operators might well end up doing deals with the newcomers in much the same way that, for example, Vodacom taps into assets owned by Rain for 4G traffic.