ICASA exceeds R8bn spectrum auction target

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Telecoms regulator the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has exceeded its R8 billion target in the spectrum auction process.

This, after the regulator successfully completed the first week of the international mobile telecommunications radio frequency spectrum auction, having started with the opt-in phase on Tuesday, 8 March, followed by the main stage that commenced on 10 March.

In a statement, ICASA says the opt-in phase managed to raise just over R2.6 billion payable by the winning bidders, Telkom and Rain Networks.

“ICASA is pleased to announce the auction is proceeding very well and can confirm that we have gradually passed estimated R8 billion proceeds from the auction,” says the regulator.

The auction will proceed on Monday, 14 March, at 09h00.

“Generally, spectrum auctions of this nature can take weeks to clear. However, the authority will announce the winning bids attained by each bidder at the end of the auction stage,” it adds.

Meanwhile, ICASA says it is further pleased to receive the congratulatory message from Cabinet with respect to the commencement of the spectrum auction process currently in progress.

“The authority has further noted the announcement and position of government relating to the amendment of the policy direction on the licensing of the wireless open access network (WOAN) for public comments,” it says.

The proposed amendments remove the requirements to license the WOAN.

“The authority had already started the process of revisiting the WOAN and its related business case and will consider the policy-maker’s (government's) latest position on this matter.”

The regulator points out that the digital migration litigation between Etv and the minister of communications and digital technologies is taking place next week, on 14 and 15 March.

“ICASA hereby announces that it has joined the litigation in support of the minister to see this process concluded without further delay. ICASA has noted the switch-off date announced by the minister; and is in full support of government’s commitment towards the implementation and completion of the digital migration process across the country.

"South Africa has been lagging behind and this process must be concluded sooner rather than later and ICASA is calling on all broadcasters and stakeholders in general to support the conclusion of this process.”

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