Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams has welcomed the announcement of dates for the release of spectrum by the telecoms regulator, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA). On Wednesday, ICASA issued the Invitation To Apply (ITA) for both Wireless Open Access Network (WOAN) and the International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT) spectrum, also known as high demand spectrum.
"These processes had a slight delay, but we are confident that the announcement will bring much-needed certainty to the industry," said Ndabeni-Abrahams
The issuance of these two ITAs are in line with the Ministerial Policy Directions and Section 3(4) of the Electronic Communications Act. In terms of the aforementioned Policy Directions, the Authority was directed to issue an ITA, accept and consider applications for an individual electronic communications network service (I-ECNS) licence, and to urgently consider the licensing of a radio frequency spectrum licence for a WOAN.
"We are encouraged by the imposition of empowerment obligations on the WOAN. This serves to further the empowerment considerations of the country and will assist the sector to achieve the sector's transformation agenda and facilitate new entrants, while also raising revenue for the fiscus. The release of the spectrum is also critically important in supporting efforts aimed at bridging the digital divide and connect the unconnected," added Ndabeni-Abrahams.