The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has resumed the process for its planned auction of ten-year nationwide licences comprising 2.6GHz spectrum. The auction was originally due to take place in December 2014, and was postponed for a second time in March last year ‘for administrative reasons’. 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. The NCC is offering 14 lots of 2×5MHz FDD paired spectrum in the 2500MHz-2570MHz and 2620MHz-2690MHz bands (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 (USD1.9 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 29 April 2016 to submit all the necessary documentation ahead of the start of the pre-qualification stage on 6 May. The auction is due to take place during the week commencing 16 May, with the publication of the final result expected on 13 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.