Icasa to issue spectrum ITAs

30th September 2020 By: Natasha Odendaal - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) will publish the invitations to apply (ITAs) for the licensing process for the Wireless Open Access Network (Woan) and the International Mobile Telephony (IMT) spectrum no later than October 2.

Icasa, in a September 30 briefing to media, outlined its proposed plans for when it starts the auction licensing process in March next year.

Taking into account the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies’ Policy Directives and Icasa’s Information Memorandum for IMT spectrum assignment, both published in 2019, the authority plans to make available 406 MHz of spectrum for the provision of mobile broadband services in South Africa.

There are four lots of 2 x 5 MHz in the 700 MHz bands that will be reserved at a price of R526.6-million a lot; four lots of 2 x 5 MHz and one lot of 2 x 10 MHz in the 800 MHz band for a reserve price each of R752-million and R1.1-billion respectively; and 14 lots of 1 x 10 MHz in the 2 600 MHz band for R97.8-million per lot.

Nine lots comprising one lot of 1 x 2 MHz, eight lots of 1 x 10 MHz and one lot of 1 x 4 MHz in the 3 500 MHz bands will be reserved at R9.8-million, R75.6-million and R19.6-million respectively.

The IMT2300 band has been excluded from the licensing process until a feasibility study and the migration of the fixed services are completed.

Various empowerment obligations are to be imposed on the successful bidders in the auction process, including a requirement to support mobile virtual network operators and for successful bidders to support the Woan through the procurement of a minimum 30% national capacity, along with several various underserviced area coverage obligations within five years.

The Woan will be assigned 1 x 20 MHz IMT700, 1 x 30 MHz IMT2600 and 1 x 30 MHz IMT3500.

The closing date for the ITA for IMT Spectrum is December 28, 2020, and March 30, 2021 for the Woan ITA.