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.


SA to license more spectrum to boost mobile services

Article Image
South Africa's telecoms regulator is preparing to license more low- and mid-frequency spectrum to help with increased demand for mobile services in the country, particularly rising data traffic.

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) announced it was kicking off the second phase of its licensing process, following a long-awaited spectrum auction in March 2022.

The successful auction was considered historic for South Africa as operators in the country had been waiting almost 15 years for more high-demand spectrum to become available.

Now it seems the regulator does not want to wait too much longer to license even more frequencies saying it is committed to making the necessary spectrum available "in an orderly and timely fashion."

"South Africa experiences continued growth in demand for more spectrum as a result of significant growth in data traffic. The limited availability of spectrum for IMT systems brings constraints and challenges in the provision of broadband services. In order to address South Africa's bandwidth deficiency, the current assigned bandwidth for IMT spectrum needs to be increased," the regulator said as part of an information memorandum published in the Government Gazette.

Phase two

ICASA Councilor, Peter Zimri, said that the next phase is primarily focused on the licensing of the unsold "Lot 9" from the previous auction which contains spectrum in the 800MHz radio frequency band, as well as some mid-band IMT radio frequency channels that are immediately available.

The Authority is a bit late on its promise to publish an information memorandum about the unsold lot. As part of ICASA's April settlement agreement with Telkom SA it said it would publish the information memorandum by the end of June 2022.

It also previously said the full licensing process would be concluded within ICASA's current financial year which ends in March 2023.

"The main aim of licensing the low and mid frequency bands within the designated frequency ranges is to increase nationwide broadband access for all citizens by 2025," ICASA said in a statement.

The March auction raised almost R14.5 billion (US$852 million) for the South Africa government, surpassing ICASA's R8 billion ($470 million) target with Vodacom and MTN bidding over $300 million each.

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

The previous auction included 33 lots across four radio frequency bands: 700MHz, 800MHz, 2.6GHz and 3.5GHz and all the lots sold except for one 800MHz lot.

The next phase includes plans to license lots in the frequencies: 450MHz, 750MHz, 800MHz, 1.5GHz, 2.1GHz, 2.3GHz, 3.3GHz and 4.8GHz.

Related posts:

*Top image source: Mehadi Hasan from Pixabay.

Paula Gilbert, Editor, Connecting Africa

Innovation hub


Orange Ventures, Digital Africa promise more funding for startups

Orange Ventures and Digital Africa are teaming up to invest more in tech startups in Africa and the Middle East through Digital Africa's Fuz program and the Orange Digital Center network.


Hot startup of the month: Rwanda's Ampersand

Connecting Africa's hot startup this month is Rwanda's Ampersand, which designs, builds, and manufactures electric motorcycles and battery packs for motorcycle taxis.

More Innovation hub

Latest video

More videos

Partner perspectives

All Partner Perspectives

Sponsored video

More videos

Follow us on X

Industry announcements

More Industry announcements

Upcoming events

Africa Tech Festival 2024
November 11-14, 2024
Cape Town, South Africa
More Upcoming events

Africa Tech Perspectives


Uber's Marjorie Saint-Lot on inclusion and sustainability in Africa

Uber's Country Manager for Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire, Marjorie Saint-Lot, shares how the ride-hailing company is approaching public-private partnerships, environmentally friendly initiatives and gender inclusion in Africa.


The 100 most influential African leaders in 2023

A new report from Africa Tech Festival and Connecting Africa puts a spotlight on the top 100 African leaders in the telecoms and technology sector in 2023.


Deep dive into East Africa's tech startup ecosystem

New survey reveals a lack of access to investors, reliance on international VCs and global recession trends as the biggest barriers for East African tech startups to access funds.

More Africa Tech perspectives

Guest Perspectives


Omdia View: April 2024

By Omdia Analysts

April 2024's telecoms highlights in the Middle East and Africa included a license for Starlink in Ghana, new mobile termination rates in Ethiopia, and 6G trials in Bahrain – that and more in the latest Omdia View.


Leveraging agritech to build resilience against climate change

By Francis Hook

ICT analyst Francis Hook discusses agritech in Africa and how the agricultural sector is using technology to build resilience against the negative effects of climate change and to ensure food security.

More Guest Perspectives

Like us on Facebook

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign Up
Tag id test-002