Just when you thought they were doing all right for a change, Telkom comes along to prove you wrong. The state-owned telecoms company has filed an urgent court order attempting to stop ICASA’s upcoming spectrum auction.
The move, if successful, will further delay the expansion of 4G services in South Africa. It’ll also slam the brakes on an already plodding 5G rollout in this country.
Telkom yesterday filed its objections with the Gauteng High Court, calling the invitation to apply “tainted”. The operator maintains that the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has made several errors with its invitation.
This, it says, could “…have enduring negative consequences on the mobile market, including but not limited to reinforcing the anti-competitive structure of the mobile market.” The errors, according to Telkom, include offering the sub-1GHz frequency when it’s not yet available. Television channel e-tv objected to this at an earlier point, and that legal action remains pending until 14 March this year.
Telkom also objects to the timing for a so-called Wholesale Open Access Network. This would be freely-available infrastructure available to all operators. The state-owned operator believes the terms furnished for the launch of this infrastructure aren’t clear enough.
If successful, Telkom’s application will prevent ICASA from processing any applications at all. Which, rather obviously, means a longer 5G wait for everybody.