The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (“ICASA/the Authority”) has noted the deadline for the analogue switch-off by the Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies as published, i.e. 31 March 2022.
The Authority is mindful that the frequency bands subject to the analogue switch-off date are part of the radio frequency spectrum bands licensed by the Authority under the provisional spectrum licensing regime, which commenced on 1 December 2021, and which ends on 30 June 2022 (in terms of Government Gazette No 45458 published on 11 November 2021).
Furthermore, the 700MHz and 800MHz radio frequency bands were also part of the radio frequency spectrum bands successfully auctioned by the Authority.
To allow licensees adequate time to vacate the frequencies provisionally assigned to them, and in accordance with provisional spectrum licensing regime, the Authority wishes to point out that the validity period of the spectrum licences to be issued pursuant to the successful auction concluded on 17 March 2022, shall only commence on 1 July 2022.
As a result, the Council of ICASA has resolved that the period 1 April 2022 to 30 June 2022 shall constitute a transitional period for broadcasting service licensees and signal distributors to ensure a seamless transition process for the switch-off of the remaining analogue transmitters.
“This is not a new decision. It is simply an alignment of the decisions taken around these interrelated processes. As the provisional spectrum regime is still in place until the end of June, it would be prudent for the actual migration of frequencies to be aligned to this period to allow for the smooth transition thereof, for provisional spectrum holders as well as both the signal distributor and broadcasters in the 700MHz and 800MHz bands,” says the Chairperson of ICASA, Dr Keabetswe Modimoeng.