The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) says it has high expectations of the second national operator (SNO). ICASA councillors officially handed over the Public Switched Telecommunications Service (PSTS) licence to the SNO.

ICASA's SNO committee chairperson Lumko Mtimde said he trusts and hopes the SNO will deliver the quality services that it promised at the beginning of the licensing process despite “doomsday prophecies”.

Programme Director Councillor Zolisa Masiza likened the SNO to the fairytale fox that woke up one morning, looked at its shadow and said “I am going to eat a zebra today”. However, as the day progressed and there was no zebra on the horizon, the fox looked at its shadow and said “I think a mouse will do'.

Mtimde said that he was aware of the Optis lawsuit, but ICASA had not been presented with anything that would stop it from issuing the licence last week. Mtimde said the case was between the Minister of Communications and Optis. He added that ICASA had received a letter from the Optis legal representative last week, but the letter did not suggest that they stop the process.

Optis, a failed bidder for the SNO licence, is demanding a 4.5% stake in SepCo. Optis' case against the Minister of Communications states that if it had known that the 51% controlling stake in the SNO was to be split up, it would bid for the second round. Judgement on the case has been deferred for January 2006 by the Pretoria High Court.