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NCC targets $224m from new broadband licences

By The Citizen
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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) plans to rake in $224m from the auctioning of 14 slots of 2.6GHz frequency for offering of broadband internet services across the country.

In an Information Memorandum released on its website on Saturday, the telecommunications regulatory agency set a reserve price of $16m for a slot of the frequency spectrum. One lot or slot of the frequency is made up of two portions of 5MHz.

It also proposed to hold an auction for the licensing process on May 16 in Abuja. Applicants are expected to submit all bidding documents by April 29.

While a reserve price of $16m had been set, actual price for the frequency spectrum can actually be much higher depending on the number of applicants that show interest and how much they are willing to commit on the frequency spectrum.

In the IM, NCC said, 'To continually provide the required frequency resources to support this growth, the Commission plans transparent auctions when frequencies are available and allocated to it. In this regard therefore, the Commission has initiated the process of 2.6GHz spectrum auction.

'The proposed licensing of 2.6 GHz spectrum has been influenced by the need to open up the space for the delivery of present and future generations of broadband services to subscribers in consonance with the Nigerian National Broadband Plan of 2013.

'The commission has consulted with the relevant industry stakeholders to determine the demand and the best way to issue the spectrum. Based on these and observations of developments in international licensing trends, the commission has decided to license the available 2 X 70 MHz slot in slots of 5 MHz to be aggregated by applicants through the Spectrum auction process.

'The commission offers 14 Lots of 2 X 5 MHz paired spectrum in the 2.6 GHz band ranging from 2500 - 2570MHz and 2620 to 2690MHz (totalling 2 X 70 MHz) for auction.'

It added, 'The spectrum is offered by the commission on a technology neutral basis and can be used to provide any telecommunications services. For roll-out of services, the commission intends to follow the International Telecommunication Union recommendation setting aside spectrum in the 2.6GHz band for the provision of advanced wireless broadband services.

'The Generic Reserve Price is the minimum price at which a lot shall be sold, which is the reserve price for one lot of 2 X 5MHz and has a value of $16m. Each lot of 2 X 5 MHz represents one eligibility point.

'An applicant that pays the IBD for 6 lots will have a total of six Eligibility Points. The reserve price for an applicant will be calculated as the GR multiplied by the number of lots applied for by the applicant.'

Applicants for the frequency are not required to hold any telecommunications operational license in Nigeria. However, any winner of the frequency who does not currently hold a Unified Access Service License (which is the operational license,) would be issued one at an additional fee of N374.6m.