South Africa: Government joins Telkom spat

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South Africa’s communications minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni has presented filings to the country’s High Court in Pretoria saying that the government will firmly oppose telco Telkom in its move to delay the planned spectrum auction.

The move is dramatic given that the government holds more than 40 per cent of Telkom’s equity which seemingly has little impact on decision-making at Telkom.

Telkom is mounting its action on the basis of several key arguments, not least that the much-promised 700MHz and 800MHz spectrum bring auctioned is not – and will not – be available for some time.

Meanwhile, Ntshavheni has also indicated that it might be time to reach an out-of-court settlement to defuse the situation.

Regulator ICASA also pitched in last week with another strongly worded statement, saying: “Telkom appears hellbent on stalling the authority’s every effort to licence the high-demand spectrum that the sector, country and our economy so badly needs”.


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