Spectrum Usage & Audits 

[10 October 2016] ICASA has notified the public that it has received an application from TRANSNET SOC Ltd (Transnet), for a radio frequency spectrum licence to use the 1800MHz band centre gap at National Ports and Harbours. Transnet intends to use a total of 5MHz of this band in the Port Elizabeth, Cape Town, Durban Port, East London, Saldanha Port and Richards Bay harbour precincts.

ICASA media release


Interested parties have until Tuesday, 25 October 2016 to submit written representations regarding the application to Mr Joseph Dikgale (jdikgale@icasa.org.za).

[7 October 2016] ICASA has published a new spreadsheet showing its records of spectrum utilisation as at the first quarter of 2016.

Spectrum usage availability

Very little information is available regarding spectrum usage in South Africa, and there is a reasonable suspicion that such published usage statistics as do exist are inaccurate.

The Department of Communications announced in its strategic plan for 2009-2012 the DoC that it would undertake an audit of spectrum usage in the country from 9KHz to 3GHz. The objective of the audit is to ensure that the licensing of the radio frequency spectrum results in efficient usage, and is in support of national interest, development and diversity.

This is a critical initiative as it is obviously necessary to know what you are working with prior to designing a strategy to facilitate optimal usage. Unfortunately, as at March 2011, it did not appear as if the audit had commenced. Enquries to the Department indicate that work is continuing on preparations for the audit. A tender for the appointment of a service provider to audit the current national radio frequency spectrum between 500 MHz and 20 GHz had a 29 October 2010 deadline  (no appointment made as of March 2011).

Update: A further tender was issued in February 2011 to be awarded in April 2011.

South Africa Radio Frequency Spectrum Audit (SARFSA) Bid (File 1)

South Africa Radio Frequency Spectrum Audit (SARFSA) Bid (File 2)

The below spectrum audits were completed by ICASA as a requirement of the FIFA 2010 World Cup:

ICASA Consolidated Spectrum Audit 450MHz-470MHz March 2010

ICASA Consolidated Spectrum Audit Report 790MHz-862MHz

The accuracy of these documents is contested, but they do indicate an astounding under-utilisation of spectrum in these bands.

Below is the latest usage spreadsheet published by ICASA:

ICASA Spreadsheet of Spectrum Usage & Spare Broacasting Frequencies (March 2010) (.xls file)