ICASA to appeal court order halting spectrum auction

South Africa’s telecoms regulator ICASA will appeal a court order restraining it from proceeding with auctioning much-needed-spectrum, it said on Tuesday.

The ruling is a setback for top mobile operators MTN and Vodacom, which are seeking to expand 4G capacity and to rollout 5G technology.

It also undermines South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s efforts to accelerate the economy by attracting new investment in the sector and creating jobs. He has cited the spectrum auction as an important economic lever for the country’s growth.

Chairperson of the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) Keabetswe Modimoeng said the regulator was dismayed by the court’s decision but remained resolute that the licensing process shall in due course be finalised.

“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,” Modimoeng said.

The court order further delays a process expected to begin this month.

High court Judge Selby Baqwa said on Monday the order was in place pending a hearing on contentions raised by operator Telkom and broadcaster eTV, although no reason was given for the order.

Source: SABC News (sabcnews.com)