27 November 2020
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.