South Africa’s communications regulator was forced to pause a spectrum action scheduled to take place later this month after a court slapped an injunction on the process pending the resolution of a legal challenge from operator Telkom.

Keabetswe Modimoeng, chair of the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA), stated he was dismayed by the decision, adding the regulator would pursue all legal avenues to get the process back on track.

“We have never been so close to licensing high demand spectrum,” he added. “We were literally three weeks away from auctioning this much-needed resource that would have seen South Africans benefit through this process in terms of reduced data costs and improvement in quality of service and experience.”

Modimoeng said the regulator was yet to receive the full reasoning behind the order, but noted similar legal action was taken in 2016, leading to an out-of-court settlement and withdrawal of litigation.

“Such interventions took us nowhere,” he noted. “It is our considered view that the best option is to exhaust all possible legal avenues at our disposal, including appeals so to ensure that this sensitive licensing process is not only defined by industry players but also by the public interest.”