Communications regulator Icasa has revealed that Telkom has asked it for additional spectrum in the 2.3GHz frequency band — and the company is willing to give up its holdings at 2.4GHz to make it happen.
In a notice published in the Government Gazette dated 15 October, Icasa said it received an application from Telkom at the end of July for an amendment to the assignment of the two bands.
In terms of the application, Telkom wants to “refarm”, or reallocate, a portion of the 2.3GHz band and surrender the use of its spectrum in the 2.4GHz band.
Should the application be approved, Telkom will have 87MHz of contiguous national spectrum between 2 300MHz and 2 387MHz.
Dobek Pater, director of business development at Africa Analysis, told TechCentral that it appears that the 2.4GHz band offers much less value to Telkom than the 2.3GHz band, which the company uses to provide fixed-wireless services using 4G/LTE technology.
Indeed, Telkom is a strong player in the fixed-LTE market, offering not only its own such services but also providing wholesale fixed-LTE products to Internet service providers.
Fixed-LTE works well as an alternative to fibre and for customers migrating off legacy copper ADSL solutions, Pater said.
Instead of simply approving the requested changes, though, Icasa has decided to “undertake a public consultation process”. It is doing this because the 2.3GHz band is “limited to IMT services”, meaning mobile telecommunications, and is therefore subject to an “extended application process”.
Interested parties have been given 21 working days from publication of the notice (from 15 October) to provide written comment on Telkom’s proposal. It may also hold public hearings, but hasn’t yet decided whether or not to do so. — (c) 2021 NewsCentral Media