Icasa's broadband spectrum sale hits another snag

2016-08-08 19:38 - Loni Prinsloo
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Johannesburg - The Telecommunications Ministry filed a suit to block the sale of more than $1bn of wireless spectrum by the industry regulator, potentially depriving mobile carriers in the country of much-needed capacity to increase high-speed broadband service.

The application, filed on Monday by the Telecommunications and Postal Services Department, names the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa, the regulator, and mobile carriers MTN, Vodacom, Telkom and Cell C as respondents, documents seen by Bloomberg News show.

They have until August 26 to show why the order shouldn’t be granted by the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.

The halt to the sale process “has become necessary in order to prevent irreparable harm which unsuspecting interested parties may suffer in licensing process which this court could ultimately find unlawful”, the ministry said in the papers.

The intervention could further postpone Icasa’s attempts to sell the spectrum after an earlier delay of about five years, partly caused by government deliberations over broadband policy.

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