MTN tells Telkom to take a hike on spectrum lawsuit

MTN South Africa is having none of Telkom’s latest move that again threatens to derail South Africa’s much-anticipated spectrum auction pencilled in for March.

The operator, South Africa’s second largest after Vodacom, said on Thursday it will oppose Telkom’s legal action against communications regulator Icasa over the invitation to apply (ITA) to participate in the auction, saying Icasa has tried to strike a “delicate balance” for all players in the industry and that the process should be allowed to proceed.

Telkom, which has been accused by Vodacom Group CEO Shameel Joosub and Icasa of attempting to trying to stall the process for its own commercial interests, filed papers at the high court on Tuesday seeking to interdict the regulator from proceeding with the licensing process. It is the second time it has done so — it was successful in its first interdict.

Read: Icasa blasts Telkom’s ‘narrow and selfish interests’

MTN confirmed that it filed papers at the high court on Friday opposing Telkom’s application.

“The need for expanded access to high-speed broadband has never been more important for South Africa’s people and its economic recovery,” the company said in an e-mailed statement.

“While the current ITA is not perfect, we believe the regulator has tried to strike a delicate balance for all players. We cannot have a repeat of 2021, where the entire process was delayed for another full year, and that on the back of 14 years of no additional spectrum being added to the industry,” MTN said.

‘Work together’

“A successful spectrum auction has the capacity to not only release much-needed funds into the national fiscus, but it will have an immediate impact on consumers. The regulator’s allocation of temporary spectrum is evidence of this point, in that data prices have continued to fall, making data even more accessible.”

“Spectrum is not just an industry issue — this is an issue for all our people and, while there are certainly elements of the ITA that are a concern, we have to work together to best benefit the people of South Africa,” said newly appointed MTN South Africa CEO Charles Molapisi in the statement.  – © 2022 NewsCentral Media

Now read: Minister to approach Telkom over spectrum litigation

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