South Africa: Screamer case gets postponed

Internet

The ongoing case between the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) and Screamer Telecom, set to be heard today (26 June 2012) has been postponed to 11 September 2013, sources say.

The case against Screamer, a provider of corporate wireless broadband Internet connectivity solutions, revolves around alleged unlawful use of state-owned signal distributor Sentech’s 2.6GHz band of spectrum, which resulted in the confiscation of Screamer equipment.

The case has been ongoing since 2011.

It was reported as far back as mid-2009 that Screamer Telecoms had been using Sentech’s 2.6GHz spectrum to provide consumers with WiMax and Wi-Fi services.

At the time, Sentech continued to deny any current association with the Screamer, saying it discontinued its agreement with the company in January 2010.

Further, Sentech called on Icasa to take action against the company for illegally using its spectrum.

In May 2011, Icasa reacted to complaints and moved against Screamer, confiscating its WiMax equipment.

However, at the time, CEO Gavin Hart rubbished the reports, saying that their network was up and running and it was business as usual.

In April 2013, Sentech announced that it would be returing its 2.6GHz and 3.5GHz spectrum to Icasa.

According to CEO of the state-owned signal distributor, Setumo Mohapi, the decision to do so after much consideration on how Sentech should be involved in the national broadband network plans of the Department of Communications.

Mohapi said that Sentech concluded that the ecosystem in South Africa has changed in a fundamental way, and the fact that the cost of spectrum has grown tenfold was also a big consideration in returning the spectrum to the regulator.