South Africa completed its radio frequency spectrum auction on Thursday, collecting R14.4 billion or nearly a billion dollars ($967.49 million) from the six bidders taking part, authorities said.
The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) said bidders Vodacom, MTN, Rain, Telkom, Cell C and Liquid Telecom had all bid for, and obtained, spectrum licenses.
“We look forward to … proceeds of the auction being put to good use for the benefit of all South Africans,” ICASA executive chairperson Keabetswe Modimoeng said in the statement.
For some, like Rain and 40% state-owned Telkom, this the first time they will access frequencies below 1 GHz, needed to improve data services in rural areas and indoor coverage — such frequencies can go through walls and penetrate underground.
Operators had been waiting for more than 15 years for spectrum licences, needed to lower data costs and roll out 5G, as the process was slowed by legislative delays.