South African Mobile Operators allowed to keep emergency spectrum

4th October 2020

Photo by Martin Sanchez on Unsplash  

In April 2020 ICASA made available International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT) spectrum in the 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 2300 MHz, 2600 MHz and 3500 MHz bands for temporary assignment for the duration of the National State Disaster. This was supposed to help operators meet the spike in demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In July MTN launched 5G across 100 sites in SA using the emergency spectrum.

In May, rival Vodacom also launched 5G in three South African cities using the temporary spectrum assigned by ICASA.

Initial reports indicated that the emergency spectrum allocations could be used until either three months after the national disaster period has ended or 30 November 2020.

October 1 st 2020 – According to ICASA’s chairperson, Dr. Keabetswe Modimoeng, South Africa’s mobile operators don’t have to give back temporary 4G and 5G spectrum until March next year when the high-demand spectrum auction will take place. 


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