South African operator Cell C called on regulator ICASA to revoke spectrum allocations rival operators aren’t using, mybroadband reported.

Speaking at a two-day ICASA review into the efficiency of spectrum use in the country, Cell C said current policies meant rivals could hold assets earmarked for fixed usage and not use them until they were cleared for mobile technologies.

Cell C – the country’s third largest operator by connections behind MTN and Vodacom – also appealed to ICASA to impose restrictions on how these allocations could be used.

South Africa’s operators and other stakeholders will also address the public hearing, which started yesterday.

Auction delays
ICASA’s review into the use of existing spectrum follows controversy and ongoing delay surrounding its 4G auction. The regulator had earmarked January 2017 for the start of the process, but following fierce government opposition it is now scheduled for May.

The postponement came after the country’s government won a court order to block the January auction, accusing the regulator of acting hastily in sending out invitations to South Africa’s largest operators to take part.

The Communications Ministry demanded the process be held until its white paper proposing a single national wholesale open access network had been published and considered. Officials at the time said the proposed regulation would encourage competition, reduce the dominance of MTN and Vodacom, and drive down prices.