S. Africa’s MTN and Vodacom join Telkom in temporary spectrum proceedings

File Photo: Vodacom, a South African branch in Cape Town, is shown in this photo taken on November 10, 2015. REUTERS / Mike Hutchings

October 18, 2021

By Nqobile Dludla

Johannesburg (Reuters) – South Africa’s two largest mobile operators, MTN and Vodacom, are in a third lawsuit to prevent regulators from withdrawing the temporary frequency spectrum assigned at the onset of COVID-19. Joined the rank Telcom.

The temporary spectrum allowed operators to provide faster connections to their customers to meet the surge in data demand as many people shifted to work and study at home last year.

MTN and Vodacom have launched 5G networks using temporary frequencies.

However, the South African Independent Communications Authority (ICASA) was unable to allow temporary allocations to “assume a permanent state” while the permanent process was in progress, allowing carriers to “assume a permanent state” until the end of November. Said that the bandwidth needs to be returned.

The permanent process of auctioning a long-term spectrum after Telkom and broadcaster eMedia Holdings alleged a flaw in the auction process and obtained a court order to suspend it was due to legal controversy. I’m late.

After the legal dispute was resolved, ICASA resumed the auction process this month.

Later this month, Telkom submitted a new document to the High Court calling on the High Court to revoke ICASA’s decision to withdraw the temporary spectrum, saying that removing the spectrum would have a “catastrophic” impact on network performance and customers. Stated.

“Vodacom can confirm that it will participate in the proceedings and support the bailouts that Telkom seeks,” Vodacom said in a statement Monday.

The MTN said it had submitted documents to the Pretoria High Court on Friday against ICASA’s decision requesting a temporary return of the spectrum.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the demand for data on the MTN network alone has increased by 165%, MTN said.

Established at the beginning of the pandemic, “a temporary withdrawal of the spectrum will also pose a significant risk to low-income South Africans, students and learners benefiting from free access,” the operator said. ..

According to MTN, the temporary spectrum has given more than 5 million people free access to more than 1,000 websites, adding that it remains open to out-of-court resolutions.

Last week, ICASA said it would challenge Telkom’s proceedings.

(Report by Nqobile Dludla; ​​edited by Tim Cocks and Susan Fenton)

S. Africa’s MTN and Vodacom join Telkom in temporary spectrum proceedings

Source link S. Africa’s MTN and Vodacom join Telkom in temporary spectrum proceedings

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