South Africa: Spectrum Auction towards Digital Migration Needs A Rigor Plan

According to Lance Fanaroff, joint CEO at Integr8, says South Africa, by all accounts, is lagging in this process and the situation involving the regulator ICASA (the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa) remains precarious and more needs to be done.

There has been a rise in auction of spectrum licenses which is aimed at creating revenue and to enhance practitioners to be at an advantageous point of securing resources to strengthen digital migration while many nations in the continent were unable to meet the designated deadline provided by the ITU which was mid-last year. It is very important for telecom regulators in Africa to focus on existing spectrum license to advance digital migration.

South Africa has been noted to be slacking in the digital migration advancement pathway as noted by Integr8. The company which deals with technology services integration has mentioned that the case which involves the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) as regulator is very insecure and needs much attention. Integr8 highlighted that they are rapidly following all progress that is happening within the country’s telecom sector. They also mentioned that the invitation ICASA sent out to applicants in July, asking them to apply for 700 MHz, 800 MHz, and 2.66 GHz spectrum license was a very disputable.

Regional media says the auction is scheduled for January 2017 and the act of ICASA has gingered a feedback from Telecoms and Postal Services Ministry and a threat to take legal action against ICASA while also affirming that the Ministry, through reports, has debated that ICASA has not been performing well in regards to compliance with legislation.

According to Lance Fanaroff, joint CEO at Integr8, “Spectrum allocation and management is critical to expanding the country’s telecommunications services and capability. It is unfortunate that key stakeholders are struggling to align with each other in the best interests of mobile broadband coverage in the country. We are confident that a resolution will be found sooner rather than later.”

 CIO at Integr8, Jan Roux also added that the auction needs to be handled properly. He said that although there is an obvious need for additional spectrum to be assigned, there is also a very important need to come up with a standard and rigor auction process. According to Roux, the existing auction process designed by ICASA is surely going to favor the big players in the industry who have deep pockets. He also added that, the ICASA’s plan will only add up to an already monopolized industry and will neglect almost all small players and thus, that will affect end users.

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