The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has announced that it has resumed the process for the planned auction of ten-year licences for spectrum in the 2.6GHz frequency band. The auction, which was originally due to take place in December last year, was postponed to ‘enable the conclusion of all administrative requirements aimed at ensuring that the licences are delivered to winners and be effective immediately on conclusion of the auction,’ The Guardian quoted the regulator as saying. The NCC has now published a revised Information Memorandum (IM) on its website, outlining details of the auction requirements and process, as well as the amended auction timetable. Having consulted with the relevant industry stakeholders, the NCC is offering 14 lots of 2×5MHz FDD paired spectrum ranging from 2500MHz-2570MHz and 2620MHz-2690MHz (totalling 2×70MHz) for auction. The spectrum is available on a technology-neutral basis and each lot has a reserve price of USD16 million; winning bidders that do not currently hold a Unified Access Service Licence (UASL) must acquire one for an additional fee of NGN374.6 million (USD1.8 million). Successful bidders will be required to launch commercial services within one year of the licence award and must meet certain coverage obligations.
Under the revised timetable, applicants have until 21 April 2015 to submit all the necessary documentation ahead of the start of the pre-qualification stage on 28 April. The auction is due to take place during the week commencing 4 May, with the publication of the final result expected on 2 June. The 2.6GHz auction 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 President Jonathan in June 2013.