On Friday 8 April, a major obstacle threating the licence of broadband spectrum was resolved when Telkom and ICASA settled out of
court. The Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies, Ms Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, confirmed the out of court settlement reached between ICASA and Telkom on the outstanding litigation regarding the high demand radio frequency spectrum licensing process. As a result of this settlement, Telkom will not pursue the litigation which was set for 11 to 14 April 2022. This settlement brings the country another step closer to the availability of IMT spectrum licenses by 1 July 2022 as per the ICASA recently released roadmap. “The release of spectrum to the industry will help our country to bridge the digital divide necessary to catapult the socio-economic development of our country for the benefit of all the people of South Africa.
The minister said that the department would work to complete the analogue TV switch-off as per the Gauteng High Court order to ensure the country can move to enjoy the digital dividend for the benefit of all South Africans, in particular those in rural areas. Equally, the department will oppose the application for leave to appeal the Gauteng High Court by eTV as the last hurdle towards the release of digital dividend spectrum. Any delay in accessing the digital dividend through protracted and unmerited court challenges such as that of eTV seek to perpetuate digital exclusion and furthers the marginalisation of the majority of people residing in rural areas.