For the third time since last year, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), yesterday announced the resumption of 2.6GHz frequency spectrum auction.
A terse statement posted on the telecoms regulator’s website Sunday said “The Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria, hereby informs parties interested in participating in the Auction of Frequency Spectrum Licences in the 2.6 GHz band that the process of the Auction has resumed”.
The statement duly signed by the current Executive Vice Chairman, Prof. Umar Danbatta informed interested participants to watch out for “Further details that will be published in due course in print and electronic media, as well as on the Commission’s website”
Daily Champion recalls that former EVC, Dr. Eugene Juwah had during the last lap of his tenure resumed twice and cancelled twice the auctioning of the resource without reasons.
The very last suspension of the spectrum auction was slated for May 4 in 2015 which would have raked in a minimum of N130.5 billion ($224m) into the federation account.
But analysts are upbeat that the economy will gain more from the auction considering the current rate of exchange at N199.00 or more. Calculated at N199.00, the federation account or the Single Treasury Account (TSA) will be richer with about N230 billion
The last resumption was announced on second week of March 2015, and it was suspended last week of the same month without reasons, thereby creating some levels anxiety on the matter.
The former Executive vice chairman of NCC, Dr Eugene Juwah, had on March 29 last year issued a shocking terse statement on the telecom regulator’s website saying “The NCC on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria, regrets to inform parties interested in participating in the Auction of frequency spectrum licenses in the 2.6GHz band that it has decided to postpone the process of the Auction until further notice.”
He added in the statement that “By this announcement, the 2.6GHz indicative auction timetable is suspended. We regret any inconvenience caused by this suspension”.
Daily Champion recalls that NCC had pegged the reserved price at $16 million for a lot of 2×5 MHz, which brings the total 14 lot on offer to $224 million.
Experts say the resumed process for the award of spectrum licence for telecom operators in Nigeria to provide full broadband service delivery to subscribers remains the best thing to happen to the economy and industry now. NCC advised interested parties to look up for more Information Memorandum (IM) on the commission’s website from now.
The IM defined the process that NCC would have used to licence 2×70 Megahertz (MHz) paired spectrum available in the 2.6GHz band. It also provided information on the Nigerian telecom market, details of the spectrum to be made available, pre-qualification process, the auction process and indicative timetable among others.
Reacting to the latest development on the spectrum auction, a stakeholder who pleaded anonymity expressed optimism on the new auction plan, saying the new leadership at NCC has recently shown character and readiness to take the industry to the next level.
The industry expert said, apart from the release of the spectrum which will boost broadband deployment, the sale this time will help the federal government raise the needed capital to fund the 2016 budget adjudged to be the highest in the history of the country.
The 2.6GHz spectrum would have been offered on neutral technology basis. The International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the global regulator of ICT has set aside spectrum in the 2.6GHz band for the provision of Advanced Wireless Broadband Services (AWS).
Details gathered by our correspondent yesterday indicate that each winning licencee at the end of the auction would have been issued a National Spectrum licence for 10 years and also qualify for a Unified Access Service Licence (UASL) on a state by state basis and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja as a single unit.