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Telkom partly withdraws spectrum legal bid

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The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) says Telkom has withdrawn “Part A” of its court application against the telecoms regulator.

Last month, Telkom launched an urgent court bid to halt the spectrum licensing process which is earmarked for March. The mobile operator wants to put breaks on the whole process to allow broader participation as well as address some of the concerns it raises.

In October, ICASA opened the invitation to apply (ITA) for the licensing of international mobile telecommunications (IMT) spectrum, also known as high-demand spectrum, and that of the wholesale open access network (WOAN).

It noted the closing date for IMT applications is 28 December 2020, while that of the WOAN is 30 March 2021.In December, the telecoms regulator announced it had received six applications for spectrum licensing in response to the ITA.

In a statement issued on Monday, ICASA explains that “Part A” of Telkom’s application was meant to compel the authority to inform all parties who may have an interest in applying for spectrum licences through the IMT (Auction ITA) ITA and the WOAN ITA of Telkom's application.

However, Telkom’s is still proceeding with “Part B and Part C” of its application, states ICASA.

The telecoms regulator says it remains committed to see this licensing process to its completion for the benefit of all South Africans, in particular consumers of electronic communication services.

“Our efforts are geared towards licensing the high-demand spectrum through an auction by no later than end of March 2021,” says ICASA chairperson, Dr Keabetswe Modimoeng. “We have adequately consulted relevant stakeholders and the public throughout this process and cannot do so to a point of regulatory paralysis.”

Modimoeng further stated that South Africans deserve all the benefits of licensing the spectrum, and this includes improved quality of service and experience, as well as the related reduced data and voice costs.

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