JUST IN | It’s finally over: Telkom and Icasa reach agreement on spectrum

Telkom and communications regulator Icasa have reached an out-of-court settlement, putting an end to the long-running legal battle over the high-demand spectrum license.

Icasa and Telkom are due to appear in the high court next week, starting on Monday.

In terms of the Settlement Agreement, Icasa will begin the licensing of Spectrum remaining in the auction no later than June 30, 2022, with the licensing process to be completed within the current fiscal year of the Supervisor, by the end of March 2023. It has also undertaken to take into account the results of the recently completed auction in its unallocated 800 MHz license.

Icasa said it would conduct a survey that would look at a secondary market for spectrum. It would consider the findings of the Mobile Broadband Services Inquiry as well as the outcome of the recent auction, and would assess whether there is a need for regulatory intervention.

Telkom itself was one of the winners in the recently completed auction round, after securing more than R2 billion spectrum. However, it wanted the auction to be declared invalid, arguing that the auction process would reinforce an unequal playing field in the telecommunications sector.

In a statement, Telkom said that the settlement agreement would challenge challenger operators like themselves “further opportunity to get sub-1 spectrum to compete with established players”.

Group CEO Serame Taukobong added: “Telkom has, in good faith, entered into a forward-looking settlement that offers Icasa the opportunity to address current market challenges identified by competing authorities, while allowing operators to focus on providing superior service. to their customers. “

In late March, Icasa released what it is called for a “modest plea” to Telkom to challenge its legal challengerequest it “[embrace] the winds of digital evolution in our country “, according to Icasa President Keabetswe Modimoeng.

In a statement on Friday, the regulator confirmed the settlement, saying it was “indeed pleased” to reach an agreement with Telkom. “This is indeed a scene of the power of heartfelt dialogue where everyone has the same vision of building an inclusive digital society. We look forward to a new chapter of our regulatory work for public interests with this lawsuit finally behind us. , “said Modimoeng.

The legal battle had angered Communications Minister Khumbudzo Ntsavheni, who claimed the spectrum auction was part of key reforms that would boost economic growth.

* Additional reporting by Sibongile Khumalo

JUST IN | It’s finally over: Telkom and Icasa reach agreement on spectrum

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