Below, please find issue 16 of ENSafrica's telecoms and media in brief, a snapshot of the latest telecommunications and broadcasting developments in South Africa.


  • GG43555 - 2020 GEN NN 396: Harmonisation of Short Codes for National Emergency Services
    • On 27 July 2020, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa ("ICASA") issued a notice of its intention to harmonise one of the following short codes: 103, 104, 105, 106, 118 and 139.
    • ICASA had previously published a notice on 15 April 2020 to harmonise and mandate the short code "111" for Coronavirus (COVID-19) national emergency services, in line with regulation 17 of the Numbering Plan Regulations. It subsequently came to light that the "111" short code is being used by Vodacom customers to access Vodacom's customer care centres. Consequently, the National Department of Health advised that the COVID-19 health communications centres were inundated with calls made by Vodacom customers.
    • ICASA has since issued a media statement in which it wanted to "categorically state that there was no error, neither was it accidental to assign the service code "111" for COVID-19 national emergency." The Numbering Regulations of 2016 harmonised short code "135" for customer care services by all network operators; and this came into effect on 24 March 2018, after which the short code "111" should have been decommissioned for customer care services. "However, this did not happen despite Vodacom confirming in writing that the new short codes, including the customer care service code, were running parallel with the legacy short codes to ensure seamless transition to the newly harmonised short codes within the specified implementation timeframe", says ICASA Acting Chairperson, Adv. Dimakatso Qocha.
    • The deadline for representations by interested persons or licensees has since passed. However, no notice has yet been received regarding the new short code.
  • GG43622 - 2020 gen NN 440: Request for Submissions with respect to the International Telecommunications Regulations Review
    • On 18 August 2020, ICASA published a notice requesting submissions with respect to the third meeting of the Expert Group on International Telecommunications Regulations.
    • Stakeholders are requested to conduct a provision by provision examination of the International Telecommunications Regulations (ITRs), specifically in relation to Articles 5 - 8 and Appendix 1, as per the Examination Table.
    • The deadline to submit the requested information is 1 September 2020, 16:00; and must be forwarded or submitted to the following email
    • The relevant documents can be accessed here.


  • GG43617 - 2020 GEN NN 438: Notice Regarding the Commencement Date of the Regulations of the Use of Television White Spaces, 2018
    • On 17 August 2020 published a notice of the commencement of the Regulations on the Use of Television White Spaces, 2018.
    • In terms of this notice the Regulations will commence on 1 April 2021.

In The News

  • Invitation to Apply for Digital Community Television Service Licences
    • ICASA has issued a statement to remind all interested communities to respond to the Invitation To Apply (ITA) for pre-registration in respect of applications for Digital Community Television Broadcasting Service Licences and applications for Radio Frequency Spectrum on Multiplex 1 for purposes of providing digital community television broadcasting services.
    • The Notice was issued on 10 March 2020 and the closing date for submissions is 4 November 2020 at 11h00.
    • Stakeholders are therefore informed that this is a pre-registration process that will culminate in the licensing of community television services and the issuing of the 15% maximum capacity on DTT Multiplex 1 per Province per the table which can be accessed here.
    • The pre-registration notice can be found here.
  • India to be the latest country to ban Huawei from its 5G
    • India is set to become the latest country to ban Chinese telecoms vendors Huawei and ZTE from its 5G networks.
    • The country is expected to use an investment rule to stop gear from Huawei and ZTE being deployed in Indian 5G mobile networks, according to Bloomberg.
    • New rules brought about by an amendment to investment rules on 23 July will prevent any bids from countries that India shares a land border with under amended investment rules that cite concerns over national security.
    • Both Huawei and ZTE have both repeatedly denied that their equipment poses any type of security risk. The final decision must still be approved by the Indian Prime Minister's office and is expected to be announced in the next week or two. If banned, India joins a growing list of countries, including the US, the UK and Australia, that have prevented Huawei from deploying 5G equipment in their wireless networks because of alleged security issues.

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