South Africa’s Telkom Asks Court To Stop Spectrum Auction Again

Spectrum Auction
South Africa's Telkom Asks Court To Stop Spectrum Auction Again

South Africa’s Telkom TKGJ.J is seeking an urgent court order to prevent telecoms regulator ICASA holding a spectrum auction in March, which would further delay the country’s rollout of 5G and expansion of 4G capacity already held back by legal action.

Operators have waited more than 15 years for ICASA to release spectrum licences that are needed to lower data costs and add network capacity as data demand has surged and smartphone adoption continues to grow.

On Wednesday, Telkom said it had filed an application asking the Gauteng High Court to review and set aside the invitation to apply, which outlines the auction rules, spectrum bands and licence obligations, published by ICASA last month.

South Africa’s Telkom Asks Court To Stop Spectrum Auction Again

In court papers seen by Reuters, Telkom called the contemplated auction process unlawful, illegal, irrational and unreasonable given that the invite is “tainted by a number of reviewable errors”.

Telkom says the outcome of the legal proceedings, set for hearing from March 14, will have a material impact on the availability of spectrum in this band.

Telkom is also fighting the lack of clarity around the timing in licensing a Wholesale Open Access Network, which refers to a single large network available to all mobile operators so that they do not need to build their own infrastructure.

“If allowed to stand, the (invitation) will have enduring negative consequences on the mobile market, including but not limited to reinforcing the anti-competitive structure of the mobile market,” it said in court papers.