South African regulator releases emergency spectrum to ease lockdown congestion

The temporary licences will grant emergency access to additional spectrum for the duration of the country’s Coronavirus lockdown
South Africa, MTN Group, VODACOM, Telkom, Spectrum, 4G, Covid 19
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South Africa’s telecoms regulatory body, The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa, has released additional spectrum to the country’s mobile network providers and internet service providers to cope with the exponential surge in demand for connectivity during the country’s Covid 19 lockdown.

MTN Group, Vodakom and Telkom were all granted additional mobile spectrum on Friday, while Liquid Telecom and Rain Networks were also granted additional spectrum for their fixed wireless access products.

The additional spectrum will be made available to operators on a strictly temporary basis, with the country still set to auction off permanent licence s for the spectrum later this year.

The free temporary licences were granted on the proviso that operators facilitate access to remote learning initiatives and virtual classrooms and do not charge their subscribers for access to any health related websites identified by the country’s Department of Health.

 “The Authority exercised extreme care in the assignment of this temporary spectrum [which is] aimed at alleviating network challenges, easing congestion and ensuring good quality of service for consumers,” ICASA told journalists from Reuters in a statement.

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