The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has published an Information Memorandum (IM) for the planned auction of ten-year licences for spectrum in the 2.6GHz frequency band. The document defines the process that the regulator has adopted for the licensing of a total of 2×70MHz paired spectrum in the 2.6GHz band, and provides information on: the Nigerian telecoms market, details of the spectrum to be made available, the pre-qualification criteria, the auction process and an indicative timetable. The NCC is offering 14 lots of 2×5MHz FDD paired spectrum ranging from 2500MHz-2570MHz and 2620MHz-2690MHz for auction. The spectrum is available on a technology-neutral basis and each lot has a reserve price of USD16 million; winning bidders that do not currently hold a Unified Access Service Licence (UASL) must acquire one for an additional fee of NGN374.6 million (USD2.3 million). Successful bidders will be required to launch commercial services within one year of the licence award and must meet certain coverage obligations.
Applicants have until 17 November to submit all the necessary documentation ahead of the start of the pre-qualification stage on 24 November. The auction is due to take place during the week commencing 1 December, with the publication of the final result expected on 8 January 2015. The 2.6GHz auction is part of the NCC’s efforts ‘to deepen competition and improve broadband penetration in the country towards achieving the goals of the National Broadband Plan’, which was approved by President Jonathan in June 2013.