ECS and ECNS Licensees: What are your obligations?

Once you hold ECS and/or ECNS licences, there are various obligations that have been imposed by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA). We have prepared a brief summary of these for you below.

NOTE: You are encouraged to check this page regularly as it is updated from time to time; date of last update will be reflected at the end.

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.

The information contained within this summary is correct as of 1 August 2023 but subject to change without notice. You are encouraged to check this page regularly as it is updated from time to time. The date of the last update will be reflected at the bottom of the page.

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 (calculated on a February FYE).

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 the holders of both Class and Individual ECS and ECNS licences to inform it of certain changes to their details in the prescribed format within 14 business days of the changes coming into effect.

This obligation applies to changes to the following details:

  • the name of the licensee;
  • the legal nature of the licensee (e.g. conversion of CC to private company);
  • Point of contact details including email address, cellphone, landline and fax numbers;
  • shareholding (in the case of Individual licensees); and,
  • physical & postal addresses.

Shareholding, Ownership & Control

In addition to the obligations detailed above, certain transactions concerning transfers of or changes to control in Individual ECS and ECNS licensees require ICASA’s prior permission (above and beyond the obligation to notify them of any changes). Individual ECS and ECNS licensees should not make changes to their shareholding without first obtaining advice on how this might affect their licences.

Individual and Class licensees also need to be aware of various HDI & BBBEE obligations which have now been imposed by ICASA. Detailed guidance on these obligations can be obtained from Ellipsis as needed.

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 the termination, amendment and introduction of new and existing products and services.

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?

ICASA is entitled to reject any application or notice submitted by a licensee where that licensee has any outstanding fees (including the General Licence Fee or USAF Contribution) or where that licensee is not up to date on all compliance reporting obligations in terms of the Compliance Procedure Manual Regulations.

Non-compliant licensees also 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.

You’re welcome to contact Ellipsis for any assistance in respect of the above-listed obligations:

Page last updated: 1 August 2023