Telkom plans court battle with Icasa over high-demand spectrum

JOHANNESBURG – Telkom is considering taking legal action against the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) after allegedly failing to promote competition in the awarding of high-demand spectrum.

Telkom chief executive Sipho Maseko told a briefing on the company’s interim financial results on Monday that the group had instructed its lawyers to consider and advise on its options given that the Invitation to Apply (ITA) disregarded or had given insufficient weight to the promotion of competition as a material consideration in the licensing of high-demand spectrum.

“Whatever action we take will be designed to ensure that there is regulatory certainty, there is fairness, there is lawfulness and also there is the speedy licensing of the high demand spectrum. It cannot be done on an unfair basis, because that increases the level of uncertainty for everybody,” Maseko said.

Last month, Icasa published the ITA for the International Mobile Telecommunications, also known as high-demand spectrum, and the Wireless Open Access Networks, saying the release of spectrum was critical to ensure good-quality broadband services and lower the cost of communication particularly data.

Maseko said although Telkom was planning to participate in the ITA, it should not be construed as tacit agreement to it. He said competition in the mobile sector was ineffective.