Icasa Extends Deadline for Spectrum Licences
The telecommunications regulator has extended the deadline for the scarce radio frequency spectrum licences to the end of next month.
The lucrative radio frequency spectrum, which is in the 2.6GHz and 3.5GHz bands, can be used to build advanced wireless broadband networks that cover large areas and transmit high volumes of traffic at a cheaper price and increase competition in the market. Companies such as Vodacom , iBurst, Internet Solutions and Cape Town-based Skyrove have shown interested in bidding for one of the four licences.
Skyrove founder and CEO Henk Kleynhans said the company would bid for the 2.6 GHz radio frequency to build a 4G network that would enable the delivery of high-speed mobile broadband services, including video-on- demand and voice-over-internet.
Companies bidding for licences have to be 30% black-owned, have a R70,000 nonrefundable participation fee and a R250,000 refundable auction fee. This will be SA's first spectrum auction.
But Internet Solutions has raised concerns about the lack of information on the model of auction that will be adopted by the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) and whether companies that have already been allocated licences in the spectrum would be allowed to apply for more. It wants those companies to be disqualified.
Internet Solutions Regulatory Director Siyabonga Madyibi said the objective of allocating additional spectrum in these two bands had always been to encourage more equitable distribution of spectrum, which would increase competition.
Madyibi said that should these players be allowed to participate in the auction, they would eliminate the chances of new entrants or smaller players acquiring spectrum, and reinforce their dominant positions. "The biggest losers will be consumers who will suffer as there will never be real competition in this environment," he said.(