Connecting Africa is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 3099067.

4G/5G

MTN sides with SA regulator in spectrum auction battle

Article Image
South African telecoms operator MTN is siding with the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) in a court battle with Telkom SA over a spectrum auction in the country.

On Friday MTN filed high court papers to oppose Telkom's recent application to interdict ICASA from proceeding with its 2022 spectrum auction.

Last week Connecting Africa reported that Telkom had filed an urgent interdict asking the Gauteng High Court to review and set aside ICASA's spectrum "Invitations To Apply (ITA)" which was published in December 2021.

"Spectrum is not just an industry issue, this is an issue for all our people and while there are certainly elements of the ITA that are a concern, we have to work together to best benefit the people of South Africa," said new MTN SA CEO, Charles Molapisi in a statement.

"We need to provide sustained data quality and speed but most importantly, continued reductions in the price of data. Spectrum is the key to this, and we need to collaborate now, with the regulator and all stakeholders, to unlock SA's economic recovery," he added.

ICASA is trying to auction spectrum in the 700MHz, 800MHz, 2.6GHz and 3.5GHz bands, intended to be used for 4G and 5G rollout.

Last week the regulator also responded with a stern media statement against Telkom's court action saying, "Telkom appears hellbent on stalling the Authority's every effort to license the high demand spectrum that the sector, country and our economy so badly needs."

Moving forward

MTN admitted that the current ITA is not perfect, but said it believes the regulator "has tried to strike a delicate balance for all players."

"We cannot have a repeat of 2021, where the entire process was delayed for another full year, and that on the back of 14 years of no additional spectrum being added to the industry," MTN added.

In March 2021, Telkom won a court interdict to stop ICASA's previous ITA which was published in October 2020, delaying the planned spectrum auction from March 2021 to March 2022.

"Throughout last year, MTN consistently worked with the regulator to avoid further delays in the spectrum process, hence the very narrow focus of the company’s 2021 court challenge, but the time for action is now," the telco added.

MTN filed its own court challenge to the 2020 ITA in January 2021 outlining some very specific issues with the process.

In September 2021, ICASA agreed to pull the previous ITA in order to avoid a long-drawn-out litigation, and published a new version in December 2021.


Want to know more about 4G and 5G in Africa? Check out our dedicated 4G/5G content channel here on Connecting Africa.


Last week, South African Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said that she would engage Telkom with the aim to reach an out of court settlement and avoid further delays in the release of spectrum.

Her department said that Telkom's new court case came about "without affording Minister Ntshavheni an opportunity to resolve whatever concerns Telkom may have with the current ITA."

Related posts:

*Top image source: warrenski on Flickr CC 2.0

— Paula Gilbert, Editor, Connecting Africa

Innovation hub

Story

Hot startup of the month: Kenya's Wowzi

Kenya's Wowzi is an online marketplace for social media users and influencers to connect with big brands and make money by amplifying their messages or products.

Story

World Mobile brings Wi-Fi hotspots to Zanzibar

Blockchain operator World Mobile is partnering with the Zanzibar eGovernment Agency to launch free Wi-Fi hotspots at public facing government institutions.

More Innovation hub

Guest Perspectives

Story

Omdia View: December 2021

By Omdia Analysts

This is the December 2021 edition of the Middle East and Africa News Digest series from Omida, which provides analysis of major trends and events in the region.

Story

Research Bites: Why ICT public access centers are struggling

By Cecilia Frans and Shaun Pather

This article – in produced in collaboration with the African Journal of Science, Technology, Innovation and Development – explores the reasons why African ICT public access centers are not finding success.

More Guest Perspectives

Partner perspectives

All Partner Perspectives

Latest video

More videos

Archived webinars

Meeting SME’s where they are - Building inclusive ecosystems for Africa’s small business owners

Micro and small businesses have been, and still are, the spine and lifeblood of the African economy, making up 90% of businesses on the continent.

Many of these businesses have still been operating in traditional ways and serving non-digital customers. With Covid-19 expediting the digital transformation process, businesses - big and small - have been forced to adapt to operate successfully in a more digital-first environment.

To ensure that the digitalization of Africa’s market doesn’t leave micro and small businesses behind, digital solutions must be inclusive and create business-ready environments. But how can we ensure that African SMEs become digitally enabled?

In this webinar we will share from our own experience on how to create such an environment, and the actions we took in vcita to get there, including:

  • Closing the digital literacy gap through tech inclusion 
  • Making a positive impact on local communities
  • Building the foundations for digital inclusion and small business growth in a technology-accelerated world
  • Building the foundations for digital inclusion and small business growth in a technology-accelerated world

Register Here >>

More Webinars

Flash poll

All polls

Sponsored video

More videos

AfricaCom perspectives

Story

Digital inclusion as a catalyst for economic empowerment: Mastercard's Imelda Ngunzu

Mastercard's Imelda Ngunzu talks to Connecting Africa about how digital payment solutions and mobile money are transforming the lives of small business owners, women and marginalized groups in East Africa.

Story

Accelerating women in STEM: In conversation with GirlCode's Tinyiko Simbine

GirlCode co-founder and CFO Tinyiko Simbine talks about why it's important to help girls and young women excel in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

Story

How Poa Internet is unlocking meaningful connectivity in East Africa

Poa Internet's CEO Andy Halsall shares his views on what it takes to develop last-mile connectivity and get Africans online in a meaningful way.

More AfricaCom perspectives

Like us on Facebook

Newsletter Sign Up


Sign Up