The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) said it has promulgated seven final Radio Frequency Spectrum Assignment Plans (RFSAPs) for International Mobile Communications (IMT) high-demand spectrum, after feedback from the industry in recent months. The seven bands are 703 to 733 MHz and 758 to 788 MHz (IMT700); 733 MHz to 758 MHz (IMT750); 791 to 821 MHz and 832 to 862 MHz (IMT800); 880 MHz to 915 MHz and 925 MHz to 960 MHz (IMT900); 2300 MHz to 2400 MHz (IMT2300); 3300 MHz to 3400 MHz (IMT3300); and 3400 MHz to 3600 MHz (IMT3500). 

In each case, the requirements and channelling plans are aligned to South Africa’s National Radio Frequency Plan (RFSAP) and globally harmonised. Each RFSAP sets out migration arrangements, coordination requirements and the method of assignment. Some of the RFSAPs formalise the arrangements already assigned in the 2022 high-demand spectrum auction. Others identify a new high demand spectrum that the Authority intends to make available for IMT services in the near future. Together, these RFSAPs will achieve a 215 percent increase in the high demand spectrum available for licensing through a competitive process. 

The spectrum bands have now been earmarked for their highest value use as key enablers for the deployment of IMT technologies and services, including 4G, 5G and beyond. Assigning these bands to their highest-value users via a competitive auction will provide an important stimulus to the development and deployment of mobile services, to reducing the cost to communicate, to increasing universal access and service, and to providing users with a wide range of value-added services, said ICASA.

Icasa will shortly undertake consultations on three other bands, namely 450 MHz to 470 MHz (IMT450); 825 MHz to 830 MHz and 870 MHz to 875 MHz (IMT850); and 1427 MHz to 1518 MHz (IMT1400). Committee chairperson Charley Lewis said finalising these RFSAPs marks a milestone in the allocation and assignment of high-demand spectrum for mobile communications services, applications and content. Lewis said the industry regulator is determined to push ahead with identifying and making available more spectrum for economic growth, job creation and social development.

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