Electronic Communication

ICASA is the official regulator of the South African telecommunications, broadcasting, and postal services sectors. In terms of telecommunications, our main responsibilities relate to licensing, consumer protection and telecommunication numbering. 

ICASA’s mandate is set out in the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa Act, Act No 13 of 2000 (ICASA Act), and the Electronic Communications Act, Act No 35 of 2005, as amended (the EC Act for the regulation of electronic communications in the public interest). This legislation empowers ICASA to grant licences, monitor licensee compliance with licence terms and conditions, develop regulations, plan and manage the radio frequency spectrum, and protect consumers. 

The Authority licenses electronic communications operators and service providers, monitor their performance to ensure that they discharge the obligations as stipulated in their licences and are adhering to the provisions of the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa Act of 2006 (ICASA Amendment Act)


ICASA is mandated to license communications systems and services in the country. In carrying out this function, ICASA is guided by the following regulations in terms of Chapter 3 of the Electronic Communications Amendment Act:

The Authority has prescribed the following:

  • Standard Terms and Conditions Regulations for Class Licences, 2010
  • Standard Terms and Conditions Regulations for Individual Licences, 2010
  • Processes and Procedures Regulations for Class Licences, 2010
  • Processes and procedure Regulations for Individual Licences, 2010

Consumer protection

A consumer can lodge a complaint against any service provider licensed by ICASA to provide electronic communications services. The following fall under our mandate:

  • Quality of service (network coverage, dropped calls, line installation, activation, transfer and suspension, ADSL and mobile-number portability)
  • Billing (billing of data, voice services and international roaming services)

Telecommunication numbering

Telecommunication numbers are a means of accessing a vast number of communication services. Numbers carry useful information, for example:

  • The type of service one is accessing (mobile, fixed, premium rate, etc.) and in some cases the rates applicable to those services
  • Geographic significance (fixed lines), for example, 010 and 011 are the dialling codes for Johannesburg

In South Africa, numbers are 10 digits long, with the exception of machine-related numbers (14 digits) and short codes (anything less than 10 digits). 

The Republic of South Africa owns the numbers used to provide communication services to its citizens, and the allocation, assignment and use of numbers are guided by the National Numbering Plan Regulations.

ICASA is mandated to manage this national numbering resource, hence we allocate numbers to individual electronic communications service (IECS) licensees who in turn assign numbers to subscribers for their use.

View Electronic Communications Acts here