NCC to auction 2.6GHz, InfraCo licences in 2016; MTN says no deal agreed on USD5.2bn fine

4 Nov 2015

MTN Group has issued a statement clarifying that it has not reached an agreement with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) over a NGN1.04 trillion (USD5.2 billion) fine imposed on its local mobile unit last week, following ‘speculation and false information in the media’ that a resolution had been agreed. The NCC has given the South African firm until 16 November to pay the fine, which was issued to the mobile market leader after it failed to meet a deadline to disconnect around 5.1 million unregistered subscribers. MTN Group said it is continuing to engage with the authorities in Nigeria on this matter, and added that it will inform stakeholders of any material developments via the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE).

In other news, local newspaper Vanguard reports that the NCC plans to award new spectrum licences next year for the provision of telecoms services. These include the delayed auction of ten-year licences for spectrum in the 2.6GHz frequency band, which was postponed for a second time in March this year, and the sale of the five remaining regional infrastructure company (InfraCo) licences. MainOne Cable and IHS secured the first two concessions – for Lagos State and the North Central Zone, respectively – in January 2015. The permits allow for the deployment of metropolitan fibre-optic infrastructure and associated transmission equipment on an open access, non-discriminatory and price-regulated basis. Under the next phase of licensing, licences will be awarded for the five remaining zones, namely: North East, North West, South East, South West and South South.