The country’s communications watchdog has published new regulations that will enable mobile phone operators – Vodacom, MTN, Cell C, Rain and Telkom – to send you at least two SMSes ever day about the coronavirus disaster.
The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa stated in the new rules that operators must send to their subscribers by SMS, free of charge at least two public announcements per day regarding the prevention and management of COVID-19; and notifications of all announcements by the Minister of Health or the Presidency.
Furthermore, the rules specify that ICASA shall determine, after consultation with the relevant Departments responsible for education and communications, the number
of district virtual classroom platforms to support virtual teaching during the
COVID-19 national disaster.
ICASA also stated that all Internet Service Providers must zero-rate all COVID-19 websites.
ICASA announced on Monday the emergency release of high-demand spectrum to meet the spike in broadband services demand due to COVID-19.
ICASA will publish a Government Gazette containing regulations that prescribe minimum standards that licensees must adhere to for the entire period of the National State Disaster today.
A critical measure introduced by the regulations is the temporary release of high demand spectrum (HDS) for the duration of the national state of disaster in order to ease network congestion, maintain a good quality of broadband services, and enable licensees to lower cost of access to consumers.
In this regard, ICASA has decided to make the following International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT) spectrum bands available for temporary assignment :
- 2600MHz and
- 3500MHz bands.
Licensees will be required to submit their applications to ICASA by Thursday, the 9th of April 2020.