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by Loni Prinsloo
(Bloomberg) — South Africa’s Telecommunications Minister Siyabonga Cwele will take legal action to prevent the sale of spectrum for high-speed broadband, the frequency needed by telecommunications companies to extend internet access.
The Independent Communications Association of South Africa’s “invitation to apply for the auctioning of the spectrum was issued without consultation and prior notification to government,” the ministry said in a statement late on Monday. “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.”
The minister’s intervention could further postpone ICASA’s attempts to sell the spectrum after an earlier delay of about five years. The move to attract bids from companies such as Vodacom Group Ltd. and MTN Group Ltd. is designed to help promote investment in the technology industry and improve quality and affordability of services, the regulator said earlier this month. South Africa’s governing African National Congress has pledged to extend broadband access to every household by the end of this decade, improving connectivity in one of the world’s stragglers in internet access.
ICASA proposed selling five blocks of spectrum at a reserve price of 3 billion rand ($209 million) each.
Minister Siyabonga Cwele threatens to sue Icasa
By Gareth van Zyl
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