Nigeria to review 2.6GHZ spectrum plan

Nigeria to review 2.6GHZ spectrum planNigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has announced that it will review the recent 2.6GHz spectrum auction following the refusal of telecommunications operators to participate

NCC had advertised for the auction of the country's 2.6GHz spectrum, but only one operator participated in it, MTN Nigeria, which bid for 6 out of the 14 available lots offered. This is in spite of the fact that the majority of the operators needed the spectrum to drive broadband service offerings on their networks. The high cost of the spectrum licence fees and the high exchange rate were the reasons cited by the operators for their refusal to participate in the auction.

NCC had pegged each of the 14 available lots at US$16mn and each operator needed more than one lot for network expansion, depending on the financial capacity.

NCC executive vice chairman Umar Garba Danbatta announced the review plan in Abuja, while receiving a consortium of international investors led by UBS South Africa.

"We are doing a post mortem and we have not yet met with the operators to find out why they did not bid, except one operator. The intention is to be able to know their reasons, and to know in what way the regulator can come in to relax some of the conditions in the process, if this relaxation can lead to more operators going for the remaining eight lots of the spectrum.”

He added that the commission incorporates elements of flexibility in its dealing with operators, in order to continue to sustain the growth in the sector, which according to him, has the potential to provide an alternative to oil and gas.

Danbatta also applauded the performance of the nation's telecommunications industry, which he pointed out, had seen a growth of 0.5 per cent to the GDP compared to the same period last year.

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