Court overturns 2.3GHz licensing cancellation

22 Mar 2010

A Federal High Court in Abuja has voided the cancellation of the licensing of WiMAX spectrum in the 2.3GHz frequency band by Minister of Information and Communications, Dora Akunyili, in May 2009. The cancellation was reversed on the grounds that Akunyili’s decision was in excess of her powers, making such action null and void. The court also ordered the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to immediately release a licence to Mobitel, which emerged as one of the three winners for the four slots in the 2.3GHz band, after each paid the required NGN1.368 billion (USD9.33 million). As reported by CommsUpdate, Akunyili issued a directive for the cancellation of the licensing round in May 2009, after the process led to a number of complaints from operators faulting the NCC on how it was conducted, especially the one-week timeframe given to pay the necessary fees. The other two winners of the licensing round were Spectranet and fixed-wireless operator Multilinks, although only Mobitel filed a complaint with the Federal High Court in August 2009, stating that as it fulfilled all the conditions for the acquisition of a licence, it should have received the concession.