Report: Minister to cancel 2.3GHz licensing round

27 May 2009

Nigerian online newspaper THISDAY is reporting that the Minister of Information and Communications, Dora Akunyili, has issued a directive for the cancellation of the Nigerian Communications Commission’s (NCC’s) recent licensing of WiMAX spectrum in the 2.3GHz band. The minister has reportedly insisted on the cancellation of the licensing round and the implementation of a new process, while stating that the NGN4.104 billion already collected should be refunded to the successful operators. Mobitel, Spectranet and fixed-wireless operator Multilinks emerged as winners out of 41 applicants for the four slots in the 2.3GHz band after each of them paid NGN1.368 billion (USD9.33 million) for the frequency used to support to WiMAX technology. Galaxy Wireless was also cleared as a successful applicant, but failed to pay the fee by the deadline. The process led to a number of complaints however, with operators faulting the commission on how the whole process was conducted, especially the one week timeframe given to pay the necessary fees. Last week, CEO of the NCC, Ernest Ndukwe, was questioned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for allegedly contravening due process in the award of spectrum.