South African regulator ICASA has stated that the main stage of its ongoing mobile broadband spectrum auction has already exceeded its initial estimate of ZAR8 billion (US$531 million).
While the current stage of bidding commenced on 10th March, ICASA held an opt-in round of bidding on 8th March for the four smaller participants – Cell C, Liquid Telecom, Rain Networks and Telkom South Africa.
TechCentral reports that this round generated ZAR2.7 billion, with Rain acquiring two 10MHz blocks in the 700MHz band along with a 10MHz block of 2.6GHz spectrum for ZAR1.15 billion, while Telkom SA bid ZAR1.5 billion for two 10MHz blocks in the 800MHz band.
MTN and Vodacom have joined the four smaller players to bid in the current stage, which will continue this week.
Separately, CommsUpdate reports that ICASA has acknowledged the South African cabinet’s move to abandon the licensing of a wholesale open-access network (WOAN). A statement from the regulator said: “the authority had already started the process of revisiting the WOAN and its related business case and will consider the policymaker’s latest position on this matter.” The announcement will likely spell an end to the initiative, which has attracted criticism from operators.