Nigerian cellco MTN has been awarded a ten-year 2600MHz frequency licence by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), with plans to utilise the spectrum for 4G LTE deployments – initially in Lagos and Abuja. MTN Nigeria CEO Ferdi Moolman said: ‘After complying with all the requirements for the 2600MHz auction and making the licence payment of NGN18.96 billion [USD67 million] to the NCC, MTN has been issued a letter of award. With the 2600MHz band, we expect to roll out and provide the full range of LTE services to Nigerians, empowering Nigeria with the latest mobile broadband technology.’
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 week the NCC provisionally awarded 2×30MHz in the band to the South Africa-based operator, giving the cellco 21 days to pay the required spectrum fee.
Further, the company’s CEO revealed that his company has made the first payment towards the fine imposed by the NCC for its failure to disconnect 5.1 million incompletely registered SIM cards in a timely fashion. ‘I am pleased to announce that the first payment of NGN30 billion in the terms of settlement has already been disbursed to the NCC. In addition to the earlier payment of NGN50 billion which we paid in good faith and without prejudice on 24 February, this means we have now paid a total of NGN80 billion,’ the executive said. Last month MTN Group agreed to pay the federal government of Nigeria a total of NGN330 billion over three years to settle the fine.