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 operators bid $176M for spectrum, with more to come

Article Image
The first part of South Africa's 4G and 5G spectrum auction has already raked in bids of almost R2.7 billion (US$176.3 million), with more to come as the main auction kicks off today.

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) confirmed via a statement that the successful bidders for the opt-in auction, which took place on March 8, 2022, were Rain and Telkom.

"Even though there were four bidders who were eligible to bid, only three bidders submitted valid bids, namely Cell C, Rain Networks and Telkom," the authority said.

Rain will be allocated 2x10MHz of 700MHz spectrum and 1x10MHz of 2.6GHz spectrum for R1.15 billion ($76.4 million) while Telkom will get 2x10MHz of the 800MHz spectrum band for 1.5 billion ($99.9 million).

Winning bids for spectrum opt-in auction
(Source: ICASA)
(Source: ICASA)

South Africa has been waiting for over a decade for more high-demand spectrum to become available. ICASA intends to auction spectrum in the 700MHz, 800MHz, 2.6GHz and 3.5GHz bands in two phases.

Tuesday's "opt-in auction" was the first part, and only tier-2 operators were eligible to participate – which excluded SA's two biggest operators MTN and Vodacom.

Liquid Telecom was eligible, but it seems it did not submit a valid bid, while Cell C's bid was not chosen.

Online auction begins

On Thursday, the "Main Stage" event begins and all six qualifying companies – Cell C, Liquid Telecom, MTN, Rain, Telkom and Vodacom – are expected to take part via an online auction platform.

"The licensing of this spectrum through an auction has major economic and social benefits for our country, especially during this time when the economy is emerging from the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic," said ICASA Chairperson Dr. Keabetswe Modimoeng in a statement.

"This process provides a critical stimulus for economic recovery and has the potential to stimulate employment by leveraging on ICT networks and digital platforms to deliver economic value for the South African society," he added.

Following the conclusion of the Main Stage, ICASA will conduct an in-person assignment phase with all qualified bidders. This is an administrative process to determine the frequency assignment position of the lots won in both auction parts.


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


ICASA also said it had noted the latest developments in the review application filed by Telkom where it asked the high court to impose a "structural or supervisory" interdict on ICASA.

"The Authority reaffirms its position that there is currently no legal impediment to the auction proceeding," it said, adding that Telkom had in fact emerged as a winning bidder in the opt-in auction.

"The Authority remains committed to successfully completing the auction and will strongly oppose all efforts aimed at undoing the economic and social gains arising from the process," ICASA added.

Related posts:

*Top image source: Mehadi965 on Pixabay.

— Paula Gilbert, Editor, Connecting Africa

Innovation hub

Story

SA startup Sendoff is digitizing funerals

South African startup Sendoff is a full-service funeral app that is digitizing the way funerals are organized.

Story

SA's Homemation wants smart homes to be seamless

Through its Control4 operating system, South Africa's Homemation highlights that operating smart homes should be a seamless experience.

More Innovation hub

Partner perspectives

5G is lighting up the future of North Africa
By Chris Meng, VP of Huawei Northern Africa Carrier Business Department

The moving target that is telecoms fraud
By Clémentine Fournier, Regional VP Sales, Africa, BICS

How mobile operators in Africa can address signalling threats and secure the network
By Katia Gonzalez, Head of Fraud and Security at BICS

All Partner Perspectives

Latest video

More videos

Guest Perspectives

Story

Omdia View: June 2022

By Omdia Analysts

5G was the major news trend across Africa in June, as Orange became the first operator to launch 5G in Réunion and operators in Senegal accelerated their 5G plans despite spectrum delays.

Story

Omdia View: May 2022

By Omdia Analysts

SpaceX-owned Starlink's plans to launch a satellite broadband service in Africa was a major highlight in May 2022, says Omdia's analysts.

More Guest Perspectives

Upcoming events

Africa Tech Festival
November 7-11, 2022
CTICC, Cape Town
More Upcoming events

Flash poll

All polls

Archived webinars

Africa Green ICT: Lighting Up a Sustainable Continent

The ICT industry is the leading industry in the commitment to carbon neutrality, whose focus has shifted from setting ambitious targets to taking initiatives. The push for zero-carbon and for green energy development, it isn't just about CSR – it's also good for sustainable business.

The path to sustainable development requires green energy. Governments are looking at potential policy approaches to make green energy more widely available and affordable. Without sustainable energy, there will be no digital transformation and no chance of making Africa more economically competitive in the post-pandemic era.

Africa Green ICT Webinar 2022 will bring together ICT industry leaders and senior industrial analysts to provide insight, best practices and key learnings on how to achieve zero-carbon targets and practice green development in Africa.

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