South Africa’s telco Telkom is suing the broadcasting and communications regulator ICASA over the withdrawal of the temporary spectrum that’s coming to an end in November.
The spectrum was made available in April 2020 to help cope with extra demand from home working and the pressures from Covid.
The government extended the emergency spectrum access but on August 31st it stressed that the temporary access to spectrum was never meant to be a permanent solution. ICASA has since said that with many workers returning to their offices the demand for home working access was no longer needed.
But Telkom does not agree. In its writ submitted to the Pretoria High Court the telco states that the “rationale and need for temporary spectrum persist” and that it needs to be prepared for any ‘fourth wave’ of Covid that might occur.
Telkom quantified the demand in its submission to the High Court, saying: “In Telkom’s case, mobile network data traffic jumped from almost 72 petabytes in March 2020 to more than 87PB in April 2020.” [A petabyte is roughly equal to a million gigabytes] “This set a new growth baseline in the network, with four months in 2021 exceeding 85PB by August 2021, and a new peak of 92PB in July 2021.”