SA ministry starts legal fight over spectrum sale - Mobile World Live

SA ministry starts legal fight over spectrum sale

09 AUG 2016

South Africa’s telecoms ministry filed a legal suit against the country’s industry regulator in an attempt to block the proposed sale of more than $1 billion worth of spectrum, reports Bloomberg.

After threatening legal action at the end of last month, the government has now started proceedings against the spectrum auction proposed by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA), with the regulator, along with operators MTN, Vodacom, Telkom SA and Cell C, named as respondents.

The parties now have until 26 August to show why the order shouldn’t be granted by a high court in South Africa.

According to documents seen by Bloomberg, the telecoms ministry said halting the sale process “has become necessary in order to prevent irreparable harm which unsuspecting interested parties may suffer in the licencing process which this court could ultimately find unlawful”.

ICASA invited interested parties to apply for spectrum, set at a reserve price of ZAR3 billion ($210 million) each last month, with the process coming after a reported five year delay caused by government deliberations over policy.

However, after studying the proposal, the country’s telecoms minister Siyanbonga Cwele released a statement stating ICASA had acted hastily given the spectrum would not be available immediately, and there was no policy direction on the spectrum that has been issued.

ICASA had hoped to hold the auction in January next year.

According to these latest developments, ICASA’s auction would also prevent new players from entering the country, said the telecoms ministry, and the process should not begin until the policy document is approved, due at the end of the year.


Kavit Majithia

Kavit joined Mobile World Live in May 2015 as Content Editor. He started his journalism career at the Press Association before joining Euromoney’s graduate scheme in April 2010. Read More >>

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