Spectrum Licensing

In terms of section 31 (1) of the Electronic Communications Act 36 of 2005, subsections (5) and (6), no person may transmit any signal by radio or use radio apparatus to receive any signal by radio, except under and in accordance with a radio frequency spectrum licence granted by the Authority to such person in terms of this act.

Furthermore, section 31 (2) of the Electronic Communications Act 36 of 2005 states that a radio frequency spectrum licence is required in addition to any service licence contemplated in Chapter 3 of this act, where the provision of such service entails the use of radio frequency spectrum.

APPLICATION PROCESSES

Standard application for radio frequency (RF) equipment

A standard Radio Communication Application form is applicable for the following services: Amateur, aircraft, base/mobile, simplex, experimental, trial/test, demonstration, paging, message handling, relay, private and communal repeater, telemetry, point-to-point and point-to-multipoint links (below and above 1 GHz), alarm monitoring, load management, message handling, radio trunking and satellite (uplinks VSAT, SNG). 

The applicant must complete and submit to the Authority an application form for a radio frequency spectrum licence. The submission of the application must be accompanied by proof of the non-refundable payment of the applicable application fee as prescribed in the Government Gazette No. 38642 of 30 March 2015 for various services.

The following application forms are in accordance with the applied services:

The applicant must be a holder of a services licence or, if exempted, proof of exemption must be produced. Please also note the following requirements:

  • The applicant must not have any outstanding money due to ICASA
  • A copy of a company registration certificate or an identity document, depending on who the applicant is, must also be submitted with the completed application form
  • Equipment to be used must be ICASA type approved

Marine radio frequency

Includes coastal stations, beacons, ship stations and Inmarsat satellite terminals

The applicant must complete and submit to the Authority an application form for a radio frequency spectrum licence. The various application forms are available at the ICASA offices and in the table below. The submission of the application must be accompanied by proof of payment of the applicable application fee as prescribed in the Government Gazette No. 38642 of 30 March 2015 for various services. 

Title Publish Date Gazette Number Download
Title Publish Date Gazette Number Download
Ship Station Application 2009-01-01

Radio dealer certificates

Any person/company who deals in radio apparatus (supply, install and repair), either personally or as agent, must be in possession of a radio apparatus certificate issued by the Authority.

The applicant must complete and submit to the Authority an application form for a radio apparatus dealer certificate. The application forms are available at the ICASA offices and on our website. The submission of the application must be accompanied by proof of payment of the applicable application fee as prescribed in the Government Gazette No. 38642 of 30 March 2015 for various services.

Title Publish Date Gazette Number Download
Title Publish Date Gazette Number Download
Radio Dealers Application 2009-01-01

Diplomatic immunities and privileges

The applications are lodged/submitted with the approval and assistance of South Africa's Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO). There are no application or radio frequency spectrum fees to be paid.

Special events

To expedite the application process for special events spectrum licences, the applicable application must be paid and proof of payment must be submitted with the application form at least 30 days before the start date of an event. Any application received less than 30 days before the start date of an event is not guaranteed to be finalised on time. 

Approval of an application is subject to frequency availability and a fully completed application form accompanied by proof of payment of the application fee. 

  • No application will be processed without proof of payment
  • Incomplete application forms will not be considered
  • Special events must be of national importance and have a period of one month or less

The following Information is required for the application:

  • The type of event
  • The applicant’s contact details (including head office) during the period of the event – this should include contact details in the country if not a South African resident
  • Type of application
  • Make and model of the equipment to be used
  • Geographic location in South Africa where equipment and frequencies will be used. Applications will be location specific as there will be a need to coordinate to avoid interferences. It is important to note that equipment using one frequency at a location may use another frequency at another location as that frequency may have been allocated to another user already
  • All the technical parameters 
  • The satellite name, orbital position, etc. and whether it’s a VSAT or SNG application
  • Any other relevant information 

The radio frequency spectrum shall be assigned as per the geographical area of the event as listed in the Radio Frequency Spectrum Licence, for example for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, if a match was taking place at FNB stadium in Johannesburg, a frequency may easily be assigned around that stadium but may not be available for use for a match at the Green Point Stadium. 

If a special event will be taking place over a period of not more than 30 days, spectrum users will not be charged any spectrum fees but will be given authority or a permit to use spectrum for that specified duration. The permit will identify the equipment, and state the frequency, venue licensed and the duration that it's valid for. The equipment will be marked with an ICASA sticker bearing the same information. Due to the extensive use of frequency spectrum throughout the country, frequency assignments will be done on a case-by-case basis and per area of operation, for example, assignment for two-way radios at Ellis Park Stadium will only be allowed for use exactly where specified and for that specific purpose.

The following are some of the factors that could result in frequency applications not being approved:

  • Unavailability
  • Congestion
  • Deviation from the National Radio Frequency Plan (NRFP)
  • Unacceptable technical parameters
  • Incomplete application forms

Broadcasting services

Community broadcasting (sound broadcasting radio frequency spectrum) 

Due to the scarcity of radio frequencies, a moratorium has been placed on new applications. The moratorium was published on 22 September 2015, Government Gazette 918, notice no. 39226 (see table below).

Title Publish Date Gazette Number Download
Title Publish Date Gazette Number Download
Moratorium on Class Community Sound Broadcasting Licences 2015-09-25

Test licences

Applications for test or trial licences must be done in line with Regulation 40 of the Radio Frequency Spectrum Regulations, 2015.

Amendments/renewal/surrender/withdrawal of broadcasting radio frequency spectrum

Applicant must submit Form A of the Radio Frequency Spectrum Regulations 2015. The application fees for the amendment of broadcasting service licences are also applicable for the amendment of broadcasting radio frequency spectrum licences. Amendments of commercial sound broadcasting services may require publication in the Government Gazette to invite comments from interested parties.

Community Broadcasting (TV broadcasting radio frequency spectrum) 

Currently there is a moratorium on new applications for community TV and radio. The moratorium will be lifted once the migration of analogue TV to digital TV has been completed. 

Title Publish Date Gazette Number Download
Title Publish Date Gazette Number Download
Citizen Band Applications 2009-01-01

The E-BAND links register

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (“the Authority”), on 22 November 2016 published, in Government Gazette number 40436 (Notice Number 781 of 2016), the Radio Frequency Spectrum Amendment Regulations 2016 which, amongst others, introduced the concept of light licensing for the E band 73.375-75.875 GHz paired with 83.375-85.375GHz. Central to the light-licensing regime is that the location of and characteristics of the stations are recorded in a reference Radio Frequency  database on a first-come-first-served basis. It is the responsibility of users to ensure coordination and compatibility with previously registered stations. 

E-Band self co-ordinated register

The following licence register will be kept up to date by publishing regular updates. 

SPECTRUM LICENCE FEES

cdd eee

Unit Price per MHz paired

R2 344.00

Minimum Fee

R141.00

Minimum Fee for a Satellite Hub Station

R58 596.00

The GEO areas are:

  • High density - includes Gauteng Province and the municipal areas of Cape Town and Durban.
  • Low density - includes all parts of South Africa that do not fal lunder high density.