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

SA regulator blasts Telkom over 'selfish' court case

Article Image
South Africa's telecom regulator is not impressed with local operator Telkom's latest court case against it, accusing Telkom of "narrow and selfish commercial interests" as it once again attempts to derail South Africa's spectrum licensing process.

"The Authority is not surprised by Telkom's relentless resort to litigation, the conduct stretching back seven years or more ago. Telkom appears hellbent on stalling the Authority's every effort to licence the high demand spectrum that the sector, country, and our economy so badly needs," the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) said in an emailed statement.

On Wednesday 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.

"The public interest demands that the licensing of high-demand spectrum cannot be delayed any longer," ICASA said.

"Narrow and selfish commercial interests should give way to the overriding public good of cheaper data, universal access to efficient and reliable connectivity, and high-speed broadband transmission. All of this will in turn boost the post COVID-19 economic recovery which the country desperately needs."

ICASA was planning to hold the spectrum auction in March 2022, after years of delays, and is also facing a court challenge from broadcaster e-tv which is yet to be heard by the high court.

ICASA plans to auction high-demand spectrum in the 700MHz, 800MHz, 2.6GHz and 3.5GHz bands which operators need to use for 4G and 5G services.

In March 2021 Telkom also won a court interdict to stop ICASA's previous ITA, which was published in October 2020.

ICASA confirmed that Telkom's urgent application was supported by a 123-page affidavit, with a total of almost 700 pages of annexures or appendices.

Pre-emptive strike

The authority said that it received a letter from Telkom on the afternoon of December 31, 2021, raising varying concerns regarding the ITA process and requesting a reply by January 4, 2022, failing which it would approach the courts.

ICASA said it responded on January 3, 2022 in brief and said it would respond more comprehensively by January 7, 2022 and would consider the various concerns raised.

"Telkom launched what can only be seen as a pre-emptive strike by filing an urgent application with the High Court to stall the ITA process and the auction intended for March 2022," ICASA said.

"This is highly regrettable, given the Authority's commitment to expediting the auction and to delivering much-needed high-demand spectrum to the people of South Africa in March 2022 or as soon as it is practicably possible."

The regulator also revealed that Vodacom had also sent it a letter "on confidential basis" on January 1, 2022 voicing its own concerns over the ITA process, which ICASA replied to on January 3, 2022.


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


The regulator said it is now studying the Telkom court papers and consulting with its lawyers about a path forward but said that the ITA process and its timetable "remain intact."

"The Authority's lawyers will deal with the litigation instituted by Telkom and advise on the way forward. The Authority will henceforth refrain from debating in the interim the merits or demerits of the case in the media," it concluded.

Related posts:

*Top image source: Mehadi965 on Pixabay.

— Paula Gilbert, Editor, Connecting Africa

Innovation hub

Story

Moya super app takes aim at SA fintech market

Super app Moya's fintech platform, MoyaPay, aims to be South Africa's most widely used mobile money payments platform.

Story

Hot startup of the month: Kenya's Shamba Pride

This month's hot startup, Shamba Pride, wants to revolutionize the rural agricultural trade ecosystem in Kenya by transforming agro-dealers into franchised 'DigiShops.'

More Innovation hub

Guest Perspectives

Story

Omdia View: April 2022

By Omdia Analysts

This month's Omdia View highlights indicate a shift to digital transformation and operational consolidation to maximize return on investments.

Story

Omdia View: March 2022

By Omdia Analysts

This month's Omdia summary of the biggest stories in the Middle East and Africa focuses on SA's spectrum auction and new submarine cables landing in Kenya and Togo.

More Guest Perspectives

Partner perspectives

All Partner Perspectives

Flash poll

All polls

Latest video

More videos

Archived webinars

Boosting Customer Experience in the Digital Age

From the first interaction to the last payment: convert leads into clients, drive loyalty and grow your bottom line.

The digital age has ushered in a new era of customer engagement. Consumer demands and expectations are higher than ever – where an affordable but seamless online experience is now the norm.

At a time when competition for your customers is fierce, ensuring a client journey that is tailored to their needs has never been more important. The ability to build these bespoke offerings starts with understanding, and that understanding is built on data.

This webinar will explore how gathering insight is key to growing and retaining a strong customer base; we’ll unpack how CRM platforms, mobile payment, lead capture, and online marketing are key factors in building a successful 21st Century digital business.

  • Customer Experience – understanding consumer expectations of today
  • What easy steps can you take to provide a complete, immersive digital customer experience?
  • How to leverage modern digital tools to build customer loyalty

More Webinars

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