Icasa and Telecommunications Minister at loggerheads over internet spectrum

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) has called for applications for radio frequency spectrum in the 700MHz, 800MHz and 2.6GHz bands. The spectrum will allow mobile operators to provide high-speed mobile broadband.

According to Duncan McLeod of TechCentral.co.za this is not the first time that Icasa is putting out this kind of invitation. He says Icasa was shot down when it first made this call five years ago.

The South African Communications regulator went against the Telecommunications Minister Siyabonga Cwele when they announced this invite for applications.

The Minister has been working on a white paper that was promised to be published at the end of March, but nothing transpired.

Minister Cwele is apparently working on an integrated ICT policy in South Africa, which has been stuck in cabinet processes for years. He has now come out saying that unless Icasa backs down on its decision, he is going to take it to court. He gave Icasa five days to retract.

Icasa and the Minister clearly have different ideas on how spectrum should be allocated

Duncan McLeod of TechCentral.co.za

Icasa is very much in favour of the spectrum auction, which is the model most applied in most markets around the world, certainly in developed markets

Duncan McLeod of TechCentral.co.za

But the Telecommunications Minister is keen on a very different model where there is some sort of open network created where there is sharing between the operators.

Duncan McLeod of TechCentral.co.za

Listen to the full conversation below:


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