Telkom agrees to drop spectrum interdict

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Telkom has dropped its urgent application to interdict the auction of spectrum, the company announced on Friday, after reaching an agreement with the other parties involved in the contested process.

The mobile operator reached its agreement with the parties - which include regulator the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) and other telecommunications companies - to remove the matter from the court roll after they agreed to an expedited hearing of the merit of Telkom's case. 

This forms Part B of its application against Icasa's Invitation to Apply (ITA), which was published on 10 December 2021.

Telkom's case centres on the lawfulness of Icasa's design of the licensing of spectrum and its justification, among other things. Telkom, which is partly owned by the government, argues the design of the auction process issued by Icasa will entrench an uneven playing in the telecoms sector.

"In line with the agreement between the parties, while we await the decision of the court on the proposed timelines for the hearing of the review, Telkom will be removing the hearing of Part A of its application from the urgent roll," Dr. Siyabonga Mahlangu, Telkom's head of Regulatory and Government Relations, said on Friday.

But the company warned that it reserves its rights to reinstate the matter on short notice should it become necessary.

Part A of Telkom's two-part application was set to be heard on Tuesday, 25 January 2022. 

Telkom had already proposed a withdrawal of its urgent interdict against SA's spectrum auction earlier this week. It wrote to all the concerned parties in the matter, informing them that it would consider dropping its injunction application, on condition that respondents agreed to an expedited review on Part B.  

Telkom said the review is expected to be heard on 1-4 March 2022, should the court be able to accommodate the request.

"Telkom is pleased with the cooperation it has received from the parties on this revised timeframe and expects the regulator to proceed, mindful that the outcome of hearing of Part B of Telkom’s application will have material impact on the auction process," Mahlangu said.

The auction of spectrum is set down for 8 March.

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