Fees for the extended use of the temporary radio frequency spectrum

Pretoria – In light of the fact that the auctioning of the high demand spectrum will occur in March 2021, the Council of the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA/Authority) has approved the amendment of the ICT COVID-19 National State of Disaster Regulations in order to extend the validity period of the temporary assignment of radio frequency spectrum (“temporary spectrum”) to no later than 31 March 2021. The initial date within which the temporary spectrum was supposed to be returned to the Authority was 30 November 2020.

The Council has also resolved that all licensees who have been assigned temporary spectrum and wish to continue using it for extended period (i.e. until 31 March 2021) will be required to pay the prescribed radio frequency spectrum licence fees.

In releasing the initial temporary spectrum to meet the high demand of services during high levels of the lockdown and the national state of disaster, the Authority did not require any payment of fees for use of such spectrum. “We are aware that licensees generated and reported revenue growth during this period. We have therefore resolved that, in addition to fulfilment of the obligations imposed with the release of temporary spectrum, the extended use of spectrum must be at a fee as provided for in the amended regulations”, says ICASA Chairperson, Dr Keabetswe Modimoeng.

As regards spectrum sharing arrangements which may have been implemented in accordance with regulation 6(10), (11) and (12) of the ICT COVID-19 National State of Disaster Regulations, the Authority advises that the continued validity of such arrangement is to be subject to specific renewal and/or approval process by the Authority.

The Authority hereby reminds prospective applicants for the radio frequency spectrum for International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT), that the closing date remains 28 December 2020 at 16h00. Furthermore, the prospective applicants are advised to request invoices for the prescribed application fee on the email address provided in the Invitation To Apply (ITA).

Finally, the Authority confirms that the Reasons Document on the ITA for IMT Spectrum and the WOAN will be released by no later than the 4th of December 2020.

On the other hand, following the release of the ITA for the Individual Electronic Communications Network Service Licence (I-ECNS) and the Radio Frequency Spectrum Licence for the provision of a Wireless Open Access Network (WOAN) on 2 October 2020, the Authority will be conducting virtual workshops from 9 to 11 December 2020 in respect of this ITA.

These workshops are intended to provide a platform and opportunity for prospective applicants to unpack the requirements of the WOAN ITA and to ensure a successful licensing process. The link to the workshop shall be communicated in due course.

“We allowed for clarity seeking questions on the IMT ITA and provided responses in this regard. We believe that the workshops and the responses will go a long way in providing clarity for all interested stakeholders and ensure that the process is fully understood and give effect to procedural fairness and administrative justice”, concludes Dr Modimoeng.

The Authority remains committed to its plans to licence radio frequency spectrum for IMT and the WOAN and would like to ensure procedural fairness in that regard.


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Email : pmaleka@icasa.org.za

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