A flurry of activity at ICASA

Posted by LA Thornton on Wednesday, March 30, 2016
ICASA has released a slew of government notices from March-April 2016, which include the following.
  • South African Music Regulations, 23 March 2016
  • South African Local Content Reasons  Document - March 2016
  • Local Television Content Regulations, 23 March 2016
  • Increased fees associated with spectrum licences effective 1 April 2016
  • Amendment to the Guidelines Relating to Type Approval Framework to extend the time for ICASA to process type approval applications from 15 to 30 working days
  • Increased admin...

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Vodacom / Neotel transaction

Posted by LA Thornton on Tuesday, March 1, 2016
In the Gauteng Division of the High Court, judgement was handed down in all of the cases challenging ICASA’s decision in the proposed Vodacom/Neotel transaction finding the following.

*  ICASA’s ex parte meeting(s) with the parties were unlawful and therefore ICASA is “reasonably suspected of bias” in deciding the matter.

* ICASA was obligated to consider the issue of competition within the ICT sector when considering the matter.

* Applications for transfer of control of licences must me...
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Films and Publications Amendment Bill, 2015

Posted by LA Thornton on Thursday, October 29, 2015
The Department of Communications has issued a notice that it will introduce the Films and Publications Amendment Bill, 2015 in Parliament in November 2015.  Copies of the bill may be obtained after its introduction from khayalethu@doc.gov.za. 

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Discussion Document on spectrum bands V and E

Posted by LA Thornton on Thursday, September 10, 2015
ICASA published a Discussion Document for comment due 27 November 2015, in respect of licensing options for the V band (57-66 GHz band) and the E band (71-76 paired with 81-86 GHz bands). 

ICASA proposes licence exempt status for the V band and a light licensing approach for the E band.

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ITA for MUX 3 Spectrum for Broadcasting

Posted by LA Thornton on Thursday, September 10, 2015
The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa issued an invitation to apply for Multiplexer 3 (MUX 3) Radio Frequency Spectrum Licence to Provide Commercial Television Broadcasting Services on 1 September 2015 (and again on 10 September 2015).  The process will proceed in two stages.  The first  is a prequalification stage.  The second is a sealed bid stage.  Prequalification documents are due 30 November 2015.  In order to prequalify, an entity must be a broadcasting licensee and ...
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Vodacom purchase of Neotel inches closer

Posted by LA Thornton on Tuesday, July 7, 2015
On 30 June 2015, the Competition Commission released a media statement announcing that it has recommended to the Competition Tribunal, the approval of the merger of Neotel and Vodacom.  The recommendation included certain conditions.

1)  Vodacom may not use Neotel’s spectrum until 31 December 2017.  Hopefully, the Tribunal will tie the time period to the implementation of equitable spectrum policy by ICASA.

2)  Vodacom must commit to R10 billion investment in infrastructure within 5 years.  T...
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ICASA proposes transfer of control regulations

Posted by LA Thornton on Tuesday, June 30, 2015
After apparently approving the transfer of control of the Neotel licences in a regulatory vacuum, ICASA finally proposes regulations that will govern transfers of control of iECNS/iECS licences.

The proposed regulations are set out in the amended Process and Procedures Regulations.  Significantly, the regulations are being amended to conform to the amendments to the EC Act which came into force in 2014, which require transfers of control, as well as transfers of licences, to be prior approved...
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New reporting requirements for ICASA licensees

Posted by LA Thornton on Tuesday, April 21, 2015
By a notice published on 20 April 2015, ICASA has appeared to have amended its reporting requirements in respect of licence fees and universal service and access fund contributions. 

The following reporting requirements are currently in force.

1.  FORM 2, BASIC FINANCIAL REPORTING FORM, PAYMENT OF LICENCE AND USAF FEES, must be submitted along with payment of the required annual licence fees and contributions to the USAF, within six months of a licensee's financial year end.  FORM 2 was publis...
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Neotel/Vodacom - ICASA holds hearings in a regulatory vacuum

Posted by LA Thornton on Thursday, December 18, 2014
ICASA has published a notice of hearings to be held in the proposed transaction between Neotel and Vodacom on 15-16 January 2015.  This notice follows a call for written comment on the proposed transaction in September 2014. 

It is not certain whether these hearings concern only the service licences of Neotel or both the service and spectrum licences, as neither notice mentions provisions of the EC Act concerning spectrum.

It is also not certain under what authority the proceedings are taking...
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Another attempt to unscramble the egg - Two new ministries for electronic communications revisited

Posted by LA Thornton on Monday, December 8, 2014
On December 2 2014, the President published a proclamation re-assigning the administration of powers and functions of the ICASA Act and EC Act to the now separate Ministry of Communications and Ministry of Telecommunications and Postal Services.

This new attempt to unscramble the egg is a far better attempt than the original notice.  However, difficulties remain. 


The MoC has the authority in terms of section 14A of the ICASA Act to approve the appointment of experts by ICASA (in cert...
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