The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has announced that MTN Nigeria, the country’s largest mobile operator by subscribers, emerged as the sole approved bidder in the recently concluded 2600MHz spectrum allocation process. The regulator has provisionally awarded 2×30MHz blocks of frequencies in the 2600MHz range to the South Africa-based firm, which has 21 days from the date of provisional award (13 June 2016) to pay the USD96 million fee for the ten-year nationwide licence. If it fails to do so, MTN will lose the licence and also forfeit the intention-to-bid deposit.
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’. A total of 14 lots of paired 2×5MHz frequency division duplex (FDD) spectrum in the 2500MHz-2570MHz and 2620MHz-2690MHz bands (totalling 2×70MHz) was offered up, with each lot having a reserve price of USD16 million. Last month it was announced that MTN, the sole qualified bidder, had expressed an interest to bid for six of the lots on offer, equivalent to 2×30MHz of spectrum. 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’, totalling USD96 million for the six lots.