Telkom has applied to the High Court for a review of the Independent Communications Authority’s invitation to pre-qualify bidders for a new tranche of spectrum.
The process has been through a decade of delay as ICASA attempts to clear bands currently used by broadcasters for new 5G services.
Telkom says it has ‘serious difficulties’ with ICASA’s decision to again include sub 1 GHz spectrum in the proposed auction. The telco is arguing the band is already the subject of a legal challenge brought by broadcaster Etv and due to be heard in March.
The application to the court in Gauteng seeks to put an immediate halt to the process while the application is considered in full.
“The impacts of a further skewing of competition in this market, through ill-considered licensing of spectrum, will be long lasting and negatively affect the availability of services and prices to consumers,” Telkom’s group executive for regulatory affairs and government relations Dr Siyabonga Mahlangu said in a statement issued Wednesday.
ICASA had originally planned to begin the auction last March but was met with an earlier court challenge, involving Telkom and a group of other telcos.