by TINTSWALO BALOYI
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – THE Internet Service Providers’ Association of South Africa (ISPA) has expressed mixed feelings after the recent auction of high-demand radio spectrum.
ISPA said the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) should be commended for hosting the successful and long-awaited auction.
“Unfortunately, this success cannot be properly celebrated as a court challenge by Telkom set down for next month could still derail the realisation of the benefits to competition and consumers of more spectrum in the hands of operators,” said Dominic Cull, ISPA regulatory advisor.
ISPA believes it is imperative the assigned spectrum is put into use as soon as possible by the winning bidders – which include Telkom – so the benefits of greater capacity and lower deployment costs could flow through an economy in dire need of job-creating, data-driven expansion.
After announcing the six qualified bidders for the spectrum auction licensing process at the end of February, ICASA held the auction in March and raised R14,4 billion (US$991,7 million).
Telkom obtained 20MHz of 800MHz and 22MHz of 3500MHz for R2,1 billion.
Shareholders have been advised that the payment of R1,1 billion is expected to be made in the current financial year.
“The long-term strategic benefits of the spectrum acquisition outweigh the short-term financial impact,” the mobile operator stated.
Telkom stated while it had secured the much-needed sub 1 GHz in the spectrum auction, it was constrained in its ability to acquire the amount of spectrum it needed to compete effectively.
“To secure its ability to compete effectively in the mobile market, Telkom persists with its court application to ensure that the licensing of spectrum promotes effective competition in the mobile market in line with the objective of the Electronic Communications Act.”
Telkom’s application is set down for hearing on April 11 to 14.
– CAJ News