ICASA wraps spectrum auction
March 21, 2022
By Chris Forrester
The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has raised 14.4 billion Rand (€875m) in the South Africa spectrum auction. The cash raised, from 6 bidders, goes into the country’s treasury.
ICASA said bidders Vodacom, MTN, Rain, Telkom, Cell C and Liquid Telecom had all bid for, and obtained, spectrum licenses.
The auction took 58 rounds of bidding. However, there remains one item which remain unsold (two 10MHz slots in the IMT800 band).
The next stage is the assignment round, scheduled for March 22nd, and which will determine the actual spectrum ranges to be assigned for all the lots bought in the various bands.
Vodacom and MTN succeeded in obtaining significant chunks of mid-band spectrum at 2.6GHz and 3.5GHz.
Telkom also received low-band spectrum – below 1GHz – for the first time, though those (analogue) frequencies are still used by television broadcasters. Rain also secured big chunks of spectrum access to continue its roll-out of wireless broadband infrastructure.
MTN and Vodacom spent R5.2-billion and R5.4-billion respectively securing access to the 2.6GHz and 3.5GHz bands. These bands are crucial for rolling out more coverage based on 4G/LTE and for deploying next-generation 5G networks.
The Chairperson of ICASA, Dr Keabetswe Modimoeng, said: “This was our inaugural radio frequency spectrum auction, and we are really grateful to have reached this stage without any hassles and challenges from the first day of the actual auction to date. This shows South Africa’s capability as an investment- friendly destination.”