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Radio Telecommunication Services (Pty) Ltd (RTS), associated company of LS of South Africa Radio Communications Services (Pty) Ltd (LSofSA), assisted the Independent Communication Authority of South Africa (ICASA) with the review of the National Radio Frequency Plan 2018 which was based on input from WRC-15 to produce a new NRFP based on WRC-19.

The Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R) holds a World Radiocommunication Conference (“WRC”) every three to four years. At the conference the WRC reviews and if necessary, revises the Radio Regulations.

Subsequently, it then become the responsibility of ICASA to review and update South Africa’s National Radio Frequency Plan. Every country that is a member of the ITU register a unique set of frequencies with the ITU-R  as per information provided at the latest WRC. WRC-23 is the current latest set of frequency arrangements

In order to ensure that the key objects of the Electronic Communication Act (ECA) are realised, it is the responsibility of the Authority to update the NRFP after every WRC, to keep the plan current and in line with the final acts of the most recent WRC.

The ECA provides for ICASA to control, plan, administer and manage the use and licensing of the radio frequency spectrum. In preparing the National Radio Frequency Plan, the Authority is obliged to take into consideration the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) allocations as adopted by South Africa at the latest WRC.

The NRFP allocates the Radio Frequency Spectrum to Radio Services in the Frequency Bands between 8.3 kHz and 3000 GHz.  All frequency assignments must be in accordance with the national radio frequency plan.

Scope of Work

ICASA appointed RTS in 2021 to assist with the review of the NRFP-18.

The scope of work entailed the following:

  • To update the National Radio Frequency Plan to reflect the Final Acts of WRC-19.
  • To ensure the National Radio Frequency Plan is in harmonisation with the Southern African Development Countries (SADC) Frequency Allocation Plan.
  • To review the existing National Radio Frequency Plan to ensure that the spectrum allocations reflect the usage of the radio frequency spectrum up until the planned date of the next WRC in the short term.
  • To ensure that the International footnotes included in the WRC-19 Final Acts are properly reflected in the National Radio Frequency Plan.
  • To ensure that the National footnotes to the National Radio Frequency Plan adequately explain the use of the radio frequency spectrum band where this is required.
  • To ensure that the National Radio Frequency Plan, including the National footnotes, reflect  any frequency migration that is necessary in the short term and as described in the Frequency Migration Plan (FMP).

The updated NRFP-21 included thus frequency band changes, new ITU resolutions,  ITU-R Recommendations  and footnote changes that were accepted at the last WRC. The latest recommendations and resolutions were added where applicable to a specific frequency band.

Numerous studies were done to analyse the differences between versions of NRFP’s to determine all the changes between WRC-18 and WRC-21. The majority of the ITU changes were extracted from the RR5 ITU software.

Comparison were also performed  between the Draft NRFP-21 and the SADC Radio Frequency Spectrum Allocation Plan, edition 2020 (RFSAP-2020).