The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) has withdrawn its Invitation to Apply (ITA) for radio spectrum issued in 2016.

The ITA called on local firms to bid for radio spectrum frequency in the 700MHz, 800MHz and 2.6GHz bands with minimum bids starting at R3 billion.

Shortly after the ITA was published in General Notice number 438 of 2016 under Government Gazette number 40145, Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services, Siyabonga Cwele said that legal action would be taken against Icasa.

“The position of Government is that it is the custodian of spectrum which is a national and public resource and whose utilisation must benefit all the people of South Africa,” the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services (DTPS) said in 2016.

“The Minister is concerned that Icasa’s invitation to apply for the auctioning of the spectrum was issued without consultation and prior notification to Government as the policy maker,” the department added at the time.

Then in September Icasa and DTPS agreed to settle the matter. The agreement would see Icasa withdrawing the ITA – which it has now done – and DTPS dropping the legal challenge.

“The withdrawal of this ITA is an important step towards achieving the National Development Plan objectives following the recent announcement of the economic stimulus and recovery plan by the President. Icasa is indeed working closely with all stakeholders and government to ensure completion of the process for the assignment and the award of IMT spectrum that is to enable investment in ICTs in South Africa,” Icasa Councillor Peter Zimri said in a press statement.

It is not yet clear when a new ITA will be issued but we will be sure to update you when we have that news.

[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]