Telkom spectrum settlement strikes stability — Icasa

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) has mentioned that its out-of-court settlement with Telkom confirmed there should be makes an attempt to stability business pursuits with the general public good.

Icasa and Telkom instructed the Sunday Times that the deal was a victory for the sector.

The paper additionally quoted Telkom’s head of regulatory affairs and authorities relations, Siyabonga Mahlangu, saying that there was lots of belief and goodwill by the top of the protracted battle.

This got here after the pair introduced final Friday that that they had reached a settlement — days earlier than hearings in Telkom’s case towards Icasa had been to begin.

The struggle was over treasured radio frequency spectrum — uncooked community capability operators use to speak between mobile towers and cell units.

South Africa’s cell community operators have been begging for years that Icasa should launch further spectrum, promising that it could enhance community high quality and produce down costs.

Icasa had initially hoped to public sale off the sought-after spectrum by March final 12 months.

However, litigation from Telkom and E-tv blocked it from going forward.

In September 2021, Icasa consented to an order setting the public sale apart. It hoped to clear a path to carry the public sale by January.

Icasa introduced its new plan for the spectrum public sale in December, and scheduled the public sale for March 2022.

Telkom was unimpressed, saying that Icasa had made a number of of the identical errors because the final time, and re-launched its litigation.

Its objections to Icasa’s public sale had been manifold, together with that the regulator had not adequately thought-about how the public sale would have an effect on South Africa’s aggressive panorama.

Telkom additionally complained that the spectrum it wanted was unavailable as a result of TV broadcasters had been nonetheless utilizing it.

A essential situation with Icasa’s new public sale guidelines was that it had positioned an higher restrict on how a lot spectrum every cell community in South Africa was allowed to personal.

Essentially, Icasa tallied up all of the spectrum at the moment assigned and added all of the frequencies it deliberate to public sale.

It divided this by the variety of operators who had thrown their hats within the ring for an opportunity at getting extra spectrum — Vodacom, MTN, Telkom, Cell C, Rain, and Liquid.

Major cell community spectrum in South Africa earlier than the public sale — from Telkom’s submission to Icasa

Telkom took situation with how this most was calculated, saying it didn’t accurately think about Rain’s full spectrum holdings.

This is as a result of Telkom went into the public sale with extra spectrum than Vodacom and MTN mixed.

South Africa’s two largest operators would be capable to purchase over 100Mhz of spectrum every, whereas Telkom was restricted to a lot much less.

Telkom believed this was unfair because it didn’t have any decrease frequency spectrum — beneath 1 gigahertz (GHz) — whereas Vodacom, MTN, and Cell C did.

In the top, Vodacom purchased 110MHz for R5.3 billion, and MTN bought 100MHz for R5.1 billion.

Telkom bid R2.1 billion on 42MHz of the spectrum, of which 20MHz was in a sub-1GHz band.

Sub-1GHz spectrum is engaging as a result of it will possibly produce a bigger protection space per cell than increased frequencies, and presents higher sign penetration by means of partitions.

Total spectrum heaps acquired per bidder and related monetary dedication
Bidder 700 800 2600 3500 TOTAL (ZAR)
Telkom 20 22 R2,113,615,407.10
Liquid Telecom 4 R111,000,000.00
Cell C 10 R288,200,000.00
Rain 20 20 R1,431,374,105.50
MTN 20 40 40 R5,152,100,000.00
Vodacom 20 80 10 R5,381,600,000.00
Unsold 20
Total Revenue Generated R14,477,889,512.60

Telkom’s settlement with Icasa addresses its grievance over spectrum caps.

Icasa dedicated to begin licensing spectrum that continues to be unassigned from the public sale no later than 30 June 2022.

The regulator should conclude this inside its present monetary 12 months.

One lot of sub-1GHz spectrum was unsold by the top of the public sale.

Icasa additionally undertook to think about the public sale’s outcomes in licensing this unassigned spectrum within the 800 MHz band.

In addition, the regulator agreed to conduct an inquiry on the affect of a possible secondary marketplace for spectrum on competitors and, if essential, present an satisfactory and enabling regulatory framework.

Now learn: E-tv takes South Africa hostage over spectrum

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