The outlook of the negotiations surrounding the current impasse over high-demand spectrum is encouraging, with the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) confident that an amicable agreement will be reached by the end of August.
In a statement issued late on June 11, the authority said that the ongoing settlement negotiations on spectrum litigation are unfolding well with an ongoing exchange of constructive engagements between the parties.
Icasa is consolidating submissions with the active litigants, which have responded with their various positions on the matter, and will outline a way forward in due course.
Icasa chairperson Dr Keabetswe Modimoeng noted that the authority will only require a few weeks post a settlement agreement to set the auction process in motion and to communicate the new closing date for the Wireless Open Access Network (WOAN) applications.
“The option and decision to enter into settlement negotiations has now proven to be effective as well as efficient, and afforded litigants the latitude to express themselves, thereby engaging thoroughly on the matters at hand,” he said, noting Icasa’s move in March to embark on an expeditious settlement negotiation process that would result in a binding outcome capable of being made an Order of Court.
He further expressed confidence in the way parties have been able to engage with Icasa, and for showing interest, as well as optimism, in resolving the current challenges relating to the licensing of radio frequency spectrum for International Mobile Telecommunications.
“We note and welcome the comments made by President [Cyril Ramaphosa] on the current spectrum legal deadlock over the past week. We are, however, confident that, based on the discussions and concessions brought about by the parties, we should be in a good position to yield an amicable settlement agreement by no later than end of August 2021," Modimoeng concluded.