From Nahimah Ajikanle Nurudeen
Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) is currently undertaking a due diligence with a view of issuing license for the cumulative 30MHz in the 2.6GHz microwave frequency recent put up for auction in the telecommunication industry.
In a signed statement the industry regulator said the licence will be issued to the investor (name yet unmentioned) for the broadband frequency in accordance to the Information Memorandum for the spectrum offer adding that upon approval, the qualified bidder will be required to pay a total $96 million for the license.
Recall that the commission had recently explained that the nation’s 2.6GHz spectrum auction as schedule could not hold, attributing it to the fact that only one operator indicated interest to bid for the spectrum.
Mr. Tony Ojobo, director of Public Affairs at NCC, who signed the statement, said: “Therefore, the need for an auction event no longer arose as the Information Memorandum, stated that “If the aggregate demand from approved bidders is less than, or equal to the number of lots on offer, the commission will provisionally award the license to the party/parties at the reserve price”.
Recalled that NCC had planned to licence the 2.6GHz spectrum to any telecoms operator that would emerge winner in the planned bid auction scheduled to hold May 16, 2016 but the auction did not take place as planned, a situation that raised concerns of industry stakeholders.
NCC had already closed the submission of applications for the bidding process on April 29, 2016, with a plan to select qualified bidders that will eventually bid for the auction of the licence that Monday.
Stakeholders’ fears were heightened because NCC had in the past, planned to auction the 2.6GHz spectrum twice, and equally failed twice to auction the spectrum, giving administrative reasons for its failure.
In the statement at the weekend, NCC said: “In line with Information Memorandum (IM) on the auction of 70 MHz in the 2.6 GHz Spectrum Band published on February 25, 2016 the Nigerian Communications Commission, on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria, wishes to announce that the auction process, which closed for submission of applications on April 29, 2016, produced one qualified bidder.”
The qualified bidder expressed an interest to bid for six lots out of the 14 lots on offer and paid the bid deposit as specified by the Information Memorandum on the auction, the statement said.
The 2.6 GHz band, which spans from 2.5 GHz band to 2.7 GHz band, covers the frequency range between 2500-2690 MHz, although there are some minor national variations among countries in the use of the frequency band. The 2.6 GHz band is often referred to as the ―IMT-2000 expansion band II and is sometimes called the 3G expansion band.
According to NCC, the 2.6GHz spectrum licence would enhance the availability of spectrum for speedy deployment of broadband services across the country.
The commission said the spectrum would also create opportunity for the deployment of advanced wireless 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology services, as well as improve standardisation and harmonisation of telecoms operations.
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