CAPE TOWN: Telecom operators in South Africa using temporary radio frequency spectrum assigned during the first COVID-19 outbreak last year must return the bandwidth by the end of November, the communications regulator ICASA said.
The Independent Communications Authority of SA (ICASA) has twice extended the duration for use of the temporary spectrum, with the last extension ending on Tuesday.
The extensions have meant mobile operators can deliver faster connectivity to customers to meet a surge in data demand as large numbers of people continue to work from home.
“Having allowed operators to use the temporarily assigned spectrum for a period of 17 months, it is reasonable that they be allowed a further three months until 30 November 2021 as a sufficient winding down period,” the regulator said in a statement.
The regulator has delayed auctioning high-frequency spectrum due to a court case brought by operators Telkom and MTN , which are unhappy with a process viewed as key in bringing down communication costs in Africa’s most developed economy.