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South Africa plans spectrum liberalisation

The South African government is poised to liberalise radio frequency spectrum by allowing the free trading of spectrum assignments, subject to regulatory conditions, reports TechCentral. The latest draft of the Electronic Communications Amendment Bill proposes that spectrum licences can be traded, subject to approval from communications regulator, ICASA. “The latest version of the amendment bill does not prescribe limits, and appears to include spectrum suitable for deploying mobile networks, including mobile broadband. The minister may issue policy directions to ICASA on spectrum trading and spectrum-use rights to fulfil specific national objectives. According to the latest version of the bill, ICASA must prescribe spectrum trading regulations within 12 months of the enactment of the legislation. These include the criteria and conditions for trading spectrum assets.” The new bill says competition must not be distorted by any spectrum trade, or through the accumulation and hoarding of spectrum rights of use. Also, licence obligations will be passed on to the new user of the radio frequency spectrum and the current radio frequency spectrum licensee must have used the radio frequency spectrum in the year prior to the spectrum trade to ensure that the trade is not used to subvert “use it or lose it” principles. Furthermore, current and new radio frequency spectrum licensees must comply with all the relevant legislation and submit to ICASA the particulars of the spectrum trade transaction, including the legal, technical and financial terms and conditions to ensure that the spectrum trade does not undermine government’s policy objectives. The bill also allows for operators to share spectrum. Read more

  • Tuesday, 25 September 2018

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