Accusations fly in iBurst, ICASA battle

iBurst said that it expects all of its business support services to be restored by tomorrow. This follows the return of the company’s equipment by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) after the issuing of an interdict by the South Gauteng High Court against the Regulator on Friday.

The disruption of iBurst services to a number of its subscribers began on Wednesday when inspectors from ICASA entered the premises of WBS and seized radio transmission equipment without prior notice.

“They also caused serious damage at the company’s data centre, where they vandalized equipment, ripping off servers and router switches worth millions of Rands, including the iBurst SMS switch which sends over 5 million SMS’s a day,” said iBurst.

“This is despite the fact that the data centre was not a part of their search and seizure warrant,” iBurst highlighted.

iBurst CEO Thami Mtshali said he is extremely dismayed by this malicious damage to iBurst property that was outside of the regulator’s search and seizure warrant.

ICASA in contempt of court, said iBurst

iBurst said that the seized equipment was returned 3 hours later than the issued deadline, meaning that the regulator acted in contempt of court.

“The Interdict also prevents ICASA from interfering with the provision of services by iBurst, pending an application by iBurst parent company Wireless Business Solutions (WBS) to declare that it is in possession of lawful licences,” iBurst said in a press statement.

iBurst CEO Thami Mtshali said he welcomed the interdict as it ensures no further disruptions to services related to WBS’s ongoing negotiations with ICASA.

“Our biggest concern has been the impact of all of this on our customers and the services that we provide them with. We apologize for any inconvenience that this may have caused and want to assure our customers that there won’t be any further disruption to their services related to this matter,” said Mtshali.

“They should continue to expect the high quality of service that we have been providing them with thus far.”

Ongoing negotiations

iBurst said that WBS and ICASA are currently engaged in negotiations to determine the amount owing to the regulator in spectrum licence fees.

“Testament to these ongoing negotiations is a letter sent to the company by the ICASA council, signed by the chairman Stephen Mncube on the 11th of March stating that the regulator would revert to iBurst about a negotiated settlement following the ‘conclusion of our investigations regarding your outstanding licence fees’,” said iBurst.

According to iBurst the letter was sent 4 days after a search and seizure warrant was granted to the ICASA on the 7th of March. “The raids on the company however occurred despite this,” said iBurst.

Mtshali said that over 70 engineers have been working tirelessly over the weekend with their overseas technical partners to make sure that services to iBurst’s corporate and consumer customers are restored.

“The interdict now ensures that the regulator cannot cause any further interruptions in services without the dispute first being resolved,” said Mtshali.

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Accusations fly in iBurst, ICASA battle