The Independent Communications Authority of SA (ICASA) announced that its planned auction to allocate wireless broadband spectrum in the 700MHz, 800MHz and 2,6GHz bands will take place in January 2017.
The communications regulator said that it was accepting applications from interested operators that wished to provide broadband access in urban and rural areas. The aim is to fast-track mobile network operators’ 4G infrastructure roll-out projects.
Mobile operators Vodacom and MTN have welcomed ICASA’s decision – Vodacom CEO, Shameel Joosub, called it a “major progressive step for the economy”, the telecommunications industry and the country as a whole, while MTN SA CEO, Mteto Nyati, said auctioning spectrum was the “most optimal approach.”
Commenting on the auction process, Icasa spokesman, Paseka Maleka, said that there will be multiple rounds and at the end of each bidding day, Icasa will publish the current standing high bidders and standing high bids. The minimum bidding price will be set at R3bn, which, according to Maleka, is in line with international benchmarks.
Successful bidders can expect to receive the spectrum licences around March 2017.