High Demand Spectrum Policy and Policy Direction re licensing of WOAN

Posted by LA Thornton on Wednesday, July 31, 2019
The Minister of Communications, on 26 July 2019, published policy on high demand spectrum and a policy direction issued to the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) for the licensing of a wireless open access network.

The spectrum policy provides for preferential treatment for assignment of spectrum to WOAN in the 700 MHz, 800 MHz, and 2600 MHz bands.  The assignment of high demand spectrum to others must meet certain conditions, including that the other licensee must procure 30 percent of its capacity from WOAN for a period of five years, that rural and under-serviced areas must be serviced first, and compliance with empowerment obligations.

The policy direction is for Icasa to issue an invitation to apply for an electronic communications network service for WOAN.  The manner of licensing is left to the discretion of Icasa.  However, certain criteria are established for the WOAN, including, that the WOAN must be at least 70 percent owned by South Africans and must comply with empowerment obligations, including 30 percent ownership by historically disadvantaged persons.

Icasa is also directed to consider, inter alia, reduced spectrum fees for the WOAN.

Finally, Icasa is direction to investigate spectrum requirements of 5G in bands lower than 6 GHz and the millimeter wave bands currently under study at World Radio Conference 2019 (WRC-19), and to report to the Minister six months after WRC-19.

Tags: spectrum policy "policy direction" "minister of communications" "independent communications authority of south africa" 
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