ECS and ECNS Licensees: What are your obligations?

Once you have acquired licences, there are various requirements which follow from ICASA (the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa). We have set out a brief summary of these for you below.

Disclaimer: The below provides an overview of the various obligations which ECS and ECNS Licensees have to observe by virtue of their licences. Detailed guidance on these obligations can be obtained from Ellipsis as needed. Licensees should not rely on this page alone in ensuring that they remain compliant with their various obligations.

Annual Fees

You are required to submit annual reports containing calculations of fees from revenue derived from licensed service provision, as well as payment of these fees. There are 2 fees due annually: The General Licence Fee and the USAF Contribution.

These reports and payments are due within 6 months of your financial year-end.

Ellipsis has prepared a guide to assist you with this.

Compliance Reporting

There are a variety of regulations that require you to submit reports to ICASA throughout the year.

Ellipsis has prepared a calendar of all standard reporting obligations.

In addition to these, there are certain ad hoc reports required, including the Short and Long ITU Questionnaires, the ICT Sector Survey, and any other request from ICASA, such as the supporting documentation for the Forecast Report. You are required to monitor these and report to ICASA as need be.

Changes to Details

ICASA requires that all licensees inform it of any changes to details in the prescribed format, within 7 days of making the change. These details include:

  • the name of the Licensee;
  • the entity type of the Licensee;
  • contact details, including the contact person;
  • shareholding;
  • physical address; and
  • financial year end.

Note that IECNS and IECS licensees should not change shareholding without obtaining advice on how this will affect their licences. This is a particularly challenging area for both licensees and ICASA, involving robust engagement on shareholding changes in progress, as well as the likelihood that the underlying regulations and procedures are unlikely to stay static, particularly in relation to HDI & BBBEE. The financial implications of making this change can be substantial, so please ensure that you seek legal advice prior to making any shareholding changes.

Commencement of Operations

Licensees are required to commence operations within 12 months for an ECS licence and 24 months for an ECNS licence. If operations are not to be commenced within these periods, a licensee should apply to ICASA for an extension.

Tariff changes & Product launches

There is a requirement to file tariff changes related to termination, amendment and introduction of new and existing products and services.

Further information can be found at the following page.

Licence Renewals

ECS and ECNS licences issued by ICASA have a period of validity from the date of issue of the licence, being 10 years for Class licences and 20 years for Individual Licences. Licensees will need to apply for renewal of their licences prior to expiration date. 

Ellipsis has prepared a short guide with some further details of this process.

What happens if I don’t do something listed above?

Non-compliant licensees run the risk of being referred to the Complaints and Compliance Committee (CCC) which can lead to fines and various other sanctions.

Ellipsis offers a Regulatory Compliance Service as well as assistance with a wide variety of industry-related services, the details of which can be found at the following page.

You’re welcome to contact Ellipsis for any assistance in respect of the above-listed obligations – all contact details are available on our Contact Page.