South Africa’s telecommunications watchdog is expected to reach agreement with two companies by end of August

JOHANNESBURG, June 11 (Reuters) – The South African telecommunications regulator said on Friday that ongoing negotiations with two companies over the dispute over the government’s proposed spectrum auction would be resolved by the end of August.

“We should be in a good position to reach an amicable settlement agreement by the end of August 2021 at the latest,” said Keabetswe Modimoeng, chairman of the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA ), in a press release.

Two of South Africa’s three largest telecommunications companies – MTN Group Ltd and part-state-owned Telkom – had taken ICASA to court in two separate cases, claiming that the spectrum auction process high demand in the country was disadvantageous to them.

As a result, the court halted the auction process which was due to end in March 2021.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has called the spectrum auction, which has been delayed for more than a decade, a major element of economic reform in the country.

On Thursday, he called on all parties concerned to negotiate on the matter and find a quick solution.

ICASA has been engaged in discussions with the parties since March. He said that when a settlement is reached, it will take a few more weeks for him to announce a new date for the restart of the auction process.

Reporting by Promit Mukherjee in Johannesburg Editing by Matthew Lewis

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