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South Africa president slams spectrum delays

June 7, 2021

By Chris Forrester

South Africa’s president Cyril Ramaphosa has heavily criticised local telcos for mounting a series of legal objections to the nation’s plan to issue more broadband spectrum.

MTN Group, which holds the second most subscribers in the country, and Telkom have both appealed to courts about how the regulator is arranging the auction, which was announced last October after many years of delays.

“The legal case that is under way threatens to delay the progress that we have all anticipated,” Ramaphosa told parliamentarians in Cape Town. “I appeal to all stakeholders to speedily resolve the litigation as soon as possible to enable the licensing process to be concluded for the benefit of all South Africans.”

South African market leader Vodacom Group, which hasn’t objected to the process, and MTN have long called for more spectrum to expand their data services and boost revenue, while the government sees the move as a way to attract investment and help revive a moribund economy. Both sides say the plan will bring down prices – a matter that’s led to regulator censure and protests from users.

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