In 'humble plea', Icasa asks Telkom to reconsider spectrum challenge

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  • The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) pleaded with Telkom to withdraw its legal challenge against broadband spectrum auction.
  • Icasa welcomed a new court judgement that gave the go-ahead to switch off of analogue television signals, which will free up broadband.
  • But says Telkom's legal challenge against the auction process remained a hurdle.

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) has pleaded with Telkom to withdraw its legal challenge against the broadband spectrum auction.

The auction was recently completed, with companies paying more than R14 billion for spectrum.

Following a new court judgement that gave the go-ahead to switch off of analogue television signals, which will free up broadband, Icasa appealed to Telkom to withdraw its litigation.

"It is, therefore, a humble plea, and we believe that Telkom will join all of us in embracing the new winds of digital evolution in our country," said Icasa chair Keabetswe Modimoeng.

Telkom won spectrum worth R2.1 billion, but it still wants the auction to be declared invalid. The company, which is partly owned by the state, argues the design of the auction process issued by Icasa will entrench an uneven playing field in the telecoms sector. 

Icasa welcomed a judgement by the North Gauteng High Court In Pretoria which dismissed e.tv's challenge to rethink the analogue switch-off on Monday.The court determined that e.tv did not establish that the minister erred or acted irrationally in determining that the switch off should go ahead.

READ | Minister 'elated' as court dismisses e.tv bid to rethink analogue TV switch-off

Modimoeng said the high court judgement brought "certainty and conclusiveness" to South Africa's digital migration process.

"This coincides with the successful conclusion of the radio frequency spectrum auction, as well as the government's intention to revise the Wireless Open Access Network (WOAN) policy regime, said Modimoeng.

But he said Telkom's legal challenge against the auction process remained a hurdle.

READ | Despite winning R2bn in spectrum, Telkom still wants auction to be declared invalid

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