Telkom has reached an out-of-court settlement with the Independent Communications Authority (Icasa) over its high demand spectrum dispute with the regulator.
This comes after Telkom filed papers at the High Court in Pretoria seeking an urgent application to prevent Icasa from holding the spectrum auction in March, citing a number of flaws in the auction process.
Last month, after almost a decade, Icasa auctioned off high-demand spectrum.
The auction involved six qualified bidders, which included Cell C, Liquid Intelligent Technologies, MTN, Rain Networks, Vodacom, and Telkom.
Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies Khumbudzo Ntshavheni welcomed the out-of-court settlement reached between Icasa and Telkom.
“I have always been confident about the prospects of parties finding each other out of court. I have expressed this view when Telkom launched its case against the ITA for the IMT Spectrum auction.
“Recently, I indicated to the Portfolio Committee of Parliament that the engagements between the two parties will yield desirable results for the benefit of the country.
“This important settlement clears the path for the release of the IMT spectrum”.
Ntshaveni said the release of spectrum to the industry will help the country to bridge the digital divide necessary to catapult socio-economic development for the benefit of all the people of South Africa.
Chairperson of Icasa, Dr Keabetswe Modimoeng expressed his appreciation for the manner in which Telkom conducted the engagements in pursuance of the settlement.
“We are indeed happy to have reached this stage with Telkom. This is indeed an epitome of the power of cordial dialogue where everyone has the same vision of building an inclusive digital society.”
Analogue switch off
Meanwhile, the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies said it is on track to complete the analogue switch off as per the Gauteng High Court Order, in order for the country to move to the digital dividend.
The switch off is said to be for the benefit of all South Africans, in particular the poor and those in rural areas, who remain excluded due to the digital divide.
The department said it would also oppose the application for leave to appeal the Gauteng High Court by e.TV towards the release of digital dividend.
“Any delay in accessing the digital dividend through protracted and unmerited court challenges such as that of e.TV seek to perpetuate digital exclusion and furthers the marginalisation of the poor and majority of our people residing in rural areas,” the department said.
e.TV and two other applicants hauled Ntshavheni to court in a bid to declare the decision for the switch-off date be set aside because millions of viewers relied on analogue.