The ICASA auction for broadband spectrum starts today, 08 March 2022 with the in-person single round opt-in auction. The main online auction shall take place from 10 March 2022.
On 21 February ICASA announced the bidders who qualified for the spectrum auction process. This followed the receipt of six (6) applications on 31 January 2022 in response to the Invitation To Apply (ITA) issued on 10 December 2021. In line with the truncated timetable published by the Authority for this licensing process, and after extensive analysis of received applications, the qualifying bidders are: 1. Cell C, 2. Liquid Telecoms, 3. MTN, 4. Rain Networks, 5. Telkom, 6. Vodacom.
This therefore means that all six applications have passed the pre-qualification stage of the licensing process and can participate in today’s auction process.
“The fact that all six applicants have qualified illustrates the robustness of our telecommunications sector in South Africa”, the chairperson of ICASA, Dr Keabetswe Modimoeng said. We can officially proclaim the forthcoming March 2022 spectrum auction as an unparalleled milestone in our country's communications history as this will be the first ever spectrum auction held on our shores. We commit ourselves to discharge this vital public-interest mandate to the very best of our abilities as we continue to confront the ongoing litigation head-on.
The Authority “conducted a bidder seminar on 28 February 2022 followed by mock auctions on 1 to 3 March 2022 with the individual bidders.
It is difficult to comprehend why this process took over a decade to happen and that it required the appointment of several different minsters.
It also appears that the concept of the WOAN (Wireless Open Excess Network) has been moved into the background and appears to be off the radar. WOAN failed implementation in many countries and was recently scrapped in Mexico which was held up by the Department of Communication as a great success. It appears that practicability has won the day.
Consumers can expect access to better and less expensive broadband services with lower data cost and government will receive a sizable amount of money into the coffers. Seems like a winning formula!