Nigeria to award new telecom licences in 2013

sierra sxcThe Nigerian government will award new licences to provide fixed-line Internet services in 2013 in an attempt to transform its network

Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) chief executive Eugene Juwah told Reuters that the fixed-line licences would be sold in an auction, whereby winning bidders would be those requesting the lowest government subsidies to build the network.

Juwah remarked, “The government wants to put in an incentive to bring the price down.”

According to the Reuters report, the fixed-line licences will be divided into three tranches. The first two will be to operate the electrical and non-electrical infrastructure, while the third will be for licences to sell services to end-users and all will be sold on a regional basis.

Juwah said that the licence sales came as the regulator considered whether it should again punish mobile firms for their poor service.

In May 2012, it fined four operators including Etisalat Nigeria, Airtel Nigeria, Globacom and MTN Nigeria a total of US$7.3mn after they allegedly missed service quality targets.

Juwah added, “We have an agreement that no fines will be issued until December, so they’ve more than six months to make the necessary investments to improve the network.

“We will measure our key indicators and hope they have improved by then because if they haven’t there is a chance we may penalise them again.”

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