Telkom threatens to sue S African regulator

By:
Alan Burkitt-Gray
Published on:

Independent Communications Authority of South Africa is already being sued by the communications minister. Now the incumbent is threatening action too

South African incumbent operator Telkom is considering suing the country’s regulator, Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa), which is already being sued by the communications minister.

The minister and the operator are complaining about the way Icasa invited applications for spectrum licences for wireless broadband services.

Earlier in August the minister, Siyabonga Cwele, said he was suing Icasa was usurping the government’s policy-making role by calling the auction without consulting him.

Now reports from South Africa say Telkom is also considering legal action.

Local media have quoted Telkom spokeswoman Jacqui O’Sullivan saying that Telkom has “some fundamentally different views about the approach Icasa has adopted on the matter of spectrum”.

She added, according to Business Day: “We are currently considering the legal merits of Icasa’s approach and are exploring our own potential legal action with regard to the Icasa process.”

Cwele, who is Minister of Postal and Telecommunications Services, complained in early August that the government was preparing a white paper on open access spectrum, but Icasa decided to call an auction on 700MHz, 800MHz and 2.6GHz bands “without consultation and prior notification to government as the policy maker”.

The minister added: “A further concern is the haste with which Icasa is proceeding to dispose of the spectrum given that this spectrum will not be immediately available.”