South Africa - Cwele gets court order to stop Icasa’s broadband auction

7 October 2016

Telecoms

THE Pretoria High Court has interdicted the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) from auctioning high-speed broadband spectrum.

On Friday, Judge Roland Sutherland handed down a temporary order on an application filed by Telecommunications and Postal Services Minister Siyabonga Cwele.

Cwele, Cell C and Telkom applied to court for an interim order to stop Icasa continuing with its plan to auction the spectrum in May 2017.

"Icasa is interdicted and prevented from implementing the licensing steps and processes referred to or contemplated in the invitation to apply," Sutherland ruled.

In July, Icasa published an invitation to apply to participate in the auction for rights to use certain bands of radio-frequency spectrum. This would be followed by licensing by the communications authority for the successful bidders.

However, Cwele and the other applicants said the invitation to apply was anticompetitive and unlawful because it contradicted the 2013 radio-frequency plan, and Icasa could not issue it until it considered the department's policy, which was in a white paper before the cabinet.

Sutherland also ordered Icasa not to accept further bids pending an application by Cell C to launch an application on the invitation to apply.

Source: BDLive 30 September 2016