ICASA opens spectrum auction
March 9, 2022
By Chris Forrester
South Africa’s ICASA telecommunications regulator has started its long-planned spectrum auction.
The opening moves (the ‘opt-in’ process) started on March 8th with six players involved: Telkom, Vodacom, MTN, Cell C, Liquid Intelligent Technologies and Rain. The second round opens on March 10.
Bidders have to attend the ICASA offices in Pretoria in person and at the end of each bidding round the observers will see the amounts tabled.
ICASA held a tutorial last week to inform participants as to how the auction would run.
The new spectrum to be licensed is in the 700MHz, 800MHz, 2.6GHz and 3.5GHz bands, and with all of the frequencies suitable for delivering mobile broadband services using 4G/LTE and in some cases next-generation 5G technologies.
“As the main stage is conducted in multiple bidding rounds and will end when bidders do not submit any newer bids (or waivers), a public announcement will be made after the conclusion of this stage, including the winners for each lot as well as the amount that they will need to pay,” ICASA explained.
However, there’s still the small matter of a legal case brought by Telkom against ICASA and focusing on complaints over how ICASA has handled the auction and how speedily any winner will be able to access their spectrum.