The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has announced that its proposed auction of spectrum in the 2600MHz frequency band attracted one qualified bidder. The regulator offered up 14 lots of 2×5MHz FDD paired spectrum in the 2500MHz-2570MHz and 2620MHz-2690MHz bands (totalling 2×70MHz). The unnamed party expressed an interest to bid for six of the lots on offer, equivalent to 30MHz of spectrum, and has paid the bid deposit. According to the rules of the auction, ‘if the aggregate demand from approved bidders is less than, or equal to the number of lots on offer … the Commission will provisionally award the licence to the party/parties at the reserve price’ and therefore an auction will not take place. The NCC is currently undertaking a due diligence exercise, following which the qualified bidder will be required to pay USD96 million for the ten-year nationwide licence.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, the NCC resumed the procedure for its 2600MHz spectrum auction in March, after the process was postponed twice last year ‘for administrative reasons’. The spectrum is available on a technology-neutral basis and each lot has a reserve price of USD16 million. Successful bidders are required to launch commercial services within one year of the licence award and must meet certain coverage obligations. The allocation of 2600MHz spectrum 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 former president Goodluck Jonathan in June 2013.