National 27.7.2016 05:00 am

Minister to sue Icasa over spectrum decision

Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services, Siyabonga Cwele. (Photo by Gallo Images / Foto24 / Deaan Vivier)

Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services, Siyabonga Cwele. (Photo by Gallo Images / Foto24 / Deaan Vivier)

Telecoms minister Cwele has warned companies like Vodacom and MTN not to get too excited just yet.

Telecoms and Postal Services Minister Siyabonga Cwele has announced plans for legal action against the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa).

This was after the communication regulator indicated it had plans to auction off the high-demand radio frequency spectrum. According to TechCentral, telecoms operators including Vodacom, Cell C, MTN and Telkom had been champing at the bit for access to the new spectrum for wireless broadband to allow them to extend 4G/LTE services to more South Africans.

According to the minister, he intended taking legal action to review the actions of the communications authority. He said his decision was based on the advice of his senior counsel after considering Icasa’s Invitation To Apply (ITA) for the overseeing of the auction, published in the Government Gazette in July.

Cwele yesterday said the decision followed two meetings with the regulator earlier this month that failed to resolve the matter amicably.

He said Icasa was also “not prepared” to subject itself to intergovernmental cooperation governance procedures.

“In taking its decision to go ahead and, by publishing its notice, Icasa has failed to adhere to the prescripts of the relevant policies, legislation and regulations,” Cwele said.

He further expressed concern that Icasa’s ITA for the auctioning of the spectrum was issued without consultation and prior notification to government, as the policymaker.

“A further concern is the apparent haste with which Icasa is proceeding to dispose of the spectrum.”

Cwele warned interested parties who may wish to respond to the ITA not to “act precipitously” by engaging in a process that would be found invalid.

– Citizen reporter

poll

today in print