Wireless broadband A rainfall operator has emerged for the defense of Ikasa in the legal confrontation of the communications regulator with Telecom across a temporary spectrum.
TechCentral learned that Rain this week submitted documents to the High Court warning that Telkom is trying to license Spectrum through the back door and says that if the company succeeds in securing a settlement against Ikasa, there could be permanent damage to competition in the telecommunications industry – and by extension, to consumers.
Raine is asking the court to reject Telecom’s request for an urgent settlement that will help Ikasa restore the temporary spectrum at the end of November as planned.
In an affidavit to the court, seen by TechCentral, Rain Chief Technology Officer Gustav Schumann said: “In April 2020, Telecom received a huge amount of spectrum from Ikasa – but under Temporary “The spectrum regime aims to alleviate network congestion during the unstable and uncertain period in which the Covid-19 epidemic has just begun and every South African was confined to his home during the difficult lock-in.”
19 months later, the conditions are “very different,” Schumann said. “Restrictions have eased, South Africans are steadily immunized, and there is very little chance that South Africa will return to the hard lock of April 2020.
“It is therefore entirely justified that Ikasa wants to change the temporary regime it introduced last year. Not only have conditions changed, but the skewed spectrum allocation is causing permanent damage to market competition.”
‘Unfair in a big way’
“Telecom is not trying to defend the ‘stability of the IT industry.’ It is trying to defend the most unfair spectrum task it has received under the emergency regime. Their dominance in the industry through their A temporary spectrum, and all for the long-term disadvantage of consumers. “
In a conversation with TechCentral over the weekend, Raine CEO Brandon Lay said that if Telecom were able to secure intervention, the harm to competition could be permanent.
Raine’s legal team will wage a legal battle not only with Telecom, but also with Vodacom and MTN, which this week filed documents in the High Court in favor of Telecom’s request against Ikasa. MTN also filed separate documents in which it made further allegations against the return of temporary spectrum tasks.
We firmly feel that the operators, and especially Telecom, are abusing this process in order to obtain spectrum allocation
But Lee told TechCentral that Icasa granted the emergency temporary spectrum in 2020, shortly after the Covid-19 hit, and that it was never intended to obtain a long-term license.
“In good faith, Ikasa has allocated all the resources it could to handle the leap (in network traffic for people working at home),” he said. “It was temporary – it’s even in the name.”
Ray, he told me, fears that if the temporary spectrum is not returned, it will become an “actual allocation” outside the official licensing process – Ikasa plans to sell auctions in the coming year in a process that is expected to raise billions. Of Rand for the National Piscus – Vits the market in favor of the big incumbent operators.
Leigh also beat Telecom for holding the auction through legal proceedings – the company pledged Icasa against Icasa in March, forcing it to cancel the invitation to participate in the auction. He said Telecom’s claim that it could not access the spectrum still used by television broadcasts (a key element in its court lawsuit against the licensing process) was proven correct – why else would it face the temporary tasks these bands have?
“Telecom claims it can not use 700 MHz and 800 MHz … and yet, in this application it asked to keep it. How can you claim that you want to stop the auction because you say you can not use ( 700MHz and 800MHz bands) but also want to keep the temporary spectrum (in these bands)?
“We feel strongly that the operators, and especially Telecom, are taking advantage of this process to allocate a spectrum. Telkom always stops the auction; they have more spectrum than everyone else, and they say they need that whole spectrum. They have a spectrum they no longer use. Why they Need more? “
Leigh said Vodacom, MTN and Telecom received large spectrum segments from Ixa under Covid-19 regulations. Other players in the markets, including rain, have not sought a multi-spectrum — if any — due to the fact that it has always been intended to be a short-term means of dealing with a national crisis. (Ikasa has previously pointed out that Cell C did not request access to any temporary spectrum, and used it in temporary nature as justification for this.)
“If we had known that temporary spectrum allocation would last two years, we would have asked for everything that could be achieved,” Lee told me.
“We need a highly competitive environment. We should not abuse the good faith given to everyone (by Ikasa). We agreed that the auction should happen … What is wrong is creating a notion of panic as motivation to scare the courts into making a decision to change the telecom landscape in South Africa forever. … “
‘We will fight’
“Telecom’s motive is to use the temporary spectrum to create fear of ‘lowering digital loads’, and use it as a justification for spectrum allocation. We will fight it … we will not be able to use the epidemic as a methodology for spectrum allocation.”
“Permanent licensing of a temporary spectrum creates a ban on recipients from supporting the spectrum auction, since in fact they have already received the spectrum they would otherwise have had to buy at auction.”
A solution, he told me, might be a temporary spectrum arrangement to replace the temporary spectrum until the auction. But he warned that it must be a new licensing process that has “a very different intent than that of Cubid’s emergency allocation.”
The High Court is expected to hear the case urgently on October 26. – (C) 2021 NewsCentral Media