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    MTN   ZAE000042164


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South Africa's MTN wants court to scrap or fix 5G spectrum sale process

01/28/2021 | 01:07pm EDT

JOHANNESBURG, Jan 28 (Reuters) - South African mobile network operator MTN Group has asked the Gauteng High court to scrap or review the telecom regulator's auction process for awarding spectrum vital for rolling out 5G technology.

MTN is the latest mobile operator to take the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) to court, after smaller rival Telkom sought the court's help in December to halt the sale, a move ICASA says it will challenge.

The legal disputes threaten to delay the auction that is expected to be held by the end of March.

Operators have been waiting more than a decade for ICASA to release new spectrum licences seen as vital to attract new investment and help lower costs for operators and users.

MTN is challenging ICASA's decision to put operators in two categories, putting MTN and rival Vodacom in Tier 1 and Telkom, Cell C and others in Tier 2, according to court papers seen by Reuters.

The papers were filed on Wednesday.

Under this classification, MTN says Tier 1 operators would be excluded from an opt-in auction round, undermining their ability to secure access to the 3.5GHz radio frequency spectrum band seen as vital to their rollout of 5G technology.

MTN says this gives smaller operators, which already have spectrum in that band, first option to purchase more capacity, at the expense of MTN. It calls the definitions used to classify the companies "impermissibly vague, arbitrary and unreasonable."

Telkom and Liquid Telecom already have access to the 3.5GHz band, while MTN, Vodacom and Cell C do not, the papers show.

MTN said it did not want a delay in allocating spectrum but said it had no choice but to ask the court to declare the process unlawful and review it or correct it or set it aside.

ICASA's spokesman said the regulator would issue a statement on the matter by the end of the week.

(Reporting by Nqobile Dludla; Editing by Edmund Blair)

© Reuters 2021
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
DOW JONES AFRICA TITANS 50 INDEX 0.10% 526.4 Delayed Quote.-0.54%
DOW JONES SOUTH AFRICA(ZAR) -0.46% 1915.59 Delayed Quote.9.10%
MTN GROUP LIMITED -0.89% 104.06 End-of-day quote.72.89%
S&P AFRICA 40 INDEX 0.10% 170.37 Delayed Quote.-1.63%
TELKOM SA SOC LIMITED 0.09% 42.21 End-of-day quote.37.45%
VODACOM GROUP LIMITED 0.18% 129.71 End-of-day quote.4.28%
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Sales 2021 176 B 12 079 M 12 079 M
Net income 2021 15 446 M 1 059 M 1 059 M
Net Debt 2021 74 107 M 5 081 M 5 081 M
P/E ratio 2021 11,5x
Yield 2021 3,04%
Capitalization 187 B 12 846 M 12 836 M
EV / Sales 2021 1,48x
EV / Sales 2022 1,34x
Nbr of Employees -
Free-Float 65,2%
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Technical analysis trends MTN GROUP LIMITED
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Number of Analysts 12
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Average target price 111,18 ZAR
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Managers and Directors
Ralph Tendai Mupita Group President, CEO & Executive Director
L. Tsholofelo Molefe Group Chief Financial Officer
Mcebisi Hubert Jonas Chairman
Charles Molapisi Chief Information & Technology Officer
Jens Schulte-Bockum Group Chief Operating Officer
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