Ntshavheni, Icasa slam Telkom for heading to court over spectrum auction issue

Telkom has once again filed papers at the High Court in Pretoria seeking an urgent application to prevent Icasa from holding a spectrum auction in March, citing a number of flaws in the auction process.

FILE: Telkom is arguing that licencing will prohibit competition. Picture: Telkom on Facebook.

JOHANNESBURG - The Department of Communications and the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) have accused Telkom of impulsively rushing to the courts before it could consider the operator’s latest grievances.

Telkom has once again filed papers at the High Court in Pretoria seeking an urgent application to prevent Icasa from holding a spectrum auction in March, citing a number of flaws in the auction process.

This will further delay the country’s rollout of 5G and the expansion of 4G capacity.

Operators have waited for years for Icasa to release spectrum licences, which are needed to lower data costs and add network capacity.

However, Telkom is arguing that licencing will prohibit competition.

Communications Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni and the telecoms regulator have blasted Telkom for once again going to court.

Telkom’s group executive Siyabonga Mahlangu said the network operator wanted the process reviewed on an urgent basis, arguing that the invitation to apply remained flawed.

“The current process severely limits Telkom’s ability to participate in the auction by limiting the number of sequences that Telkom can acquire in the current auction. We are raising this matter with the court because the formalities require us to act urgently, but we’re still willing to talk, despite the fact that we’ve issued court processes.”

In a strongly worded statement, Icasa said Telkom appeared hellbent on stalling every effort to licence the high-demand spectrum that the sector, country and our economy so badly needed.

While Ntshavheni said Telkom should have approached her first before going to court.