By Prince Osuagwu
In an apparent bid to provide relevant information to guide people on the modalities of selling the slots in the 2.6 gigahertz spectrum band next month, the Nigerian Communications Commission has released some of the technical details of the planned auction as contained in the recently-released Information Memorandum (IM) .
The Memorandum released recently by the regulator defines the process for the licensing of paired Spectrum in the 2.6 GHz band.
According to NCC, the auction of the spectrum will add the necessary fillip to the extant drive by the regulator to deepen broadband internet penetration from its current six per cent to 30 per cent by 2018. The planned auction is also in line with the mandate of the Commission as accentuated in the National Broadband Plan 2013-2018, approved by President Goodluck Jonathan last year and the objectives of and the Nigerian National Broadband Plan 2013.
According to the Director, Public Affairs, NCC, Mr Tony Ojobo, the process for the licensing of the 2.6 GHz Spectrum is predicated on demands by operators for additional Spectrum to enable the provision of Advanced Wireless Broadband services in line with international trends.
He maintained that this is also in furtherance of the objectives of the Federal Government of Nigeria as set out in the Nigerian National ICT Policy 2012 and the Nigerian National Broadband Plan 2013.
“Based on the positive outcome of earlier consultations with necessary stakeholders and the direction of the National Broadband Plan, the Commission has decided to undertake the 2.6 gigahertz spectrum auction to award Spectrum licenses to build and operate networks in this Spectrum band to
provide Advanced Broadband Wireless Services to subscribers in Nigeria,” Ojobo
said. To qualify to bid in the forthcoming auction, the IM explains that the applicants may not have to be licensed network operators (LNOs) in Nigeria.
“However, any successful Bidder who does not have a Unified Access Service License (UASL) will be granted one upon payment of the specified fee. The tenure for the UASL will be 10
years, subject to renewal,” he explained.
Explaining the technical details of the spectrum further, OJobo stated that the spectrum is offered by the Commission on a technology neutral basis, saying, however, that for roll-out of services, the Commission intends to follow the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) recommendation setting aside Spectrum in the 2.6GHz band for the provision of advanced wireless broadband services.
Ojobo revealed that the Commission will offer 14 Lots of 2 X 5 megahertz FDD paired Spectrum in the 2.6 GHz band ranging from 2500 – 2570 megahertz and 2620 to 2690 megahertz totaling 2 X 70 megahertz for auction.
This will be awarded to winning Bidders in multiples of 2 X 5 megahertz lots aggregated in contiguous arrangements.
A reserve bid price of $16 million has been fixed by the Commission on each of the 14 lots in the 2.6 gigahertz spectrum with a clause that a winner of the spectrum without Universal Access Service Liecence( UASL will need to obtain such a licence also.
“Nigeria currently has growing levels of Internet take-up, PC penetration and broadband adoption.
The trend of Internet use in Nigeria shows an increase with the overall number of users rising from 1.4 per cent of population in 2004 to about 47.8 per cent by 2014 with Broadband penetration at about 6.1 per cent in 2013. Access to PC in Nigeria was estimated at 8.1 per cent of the population in 2013.