The Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria, ATCON, has urged the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, to negotiate with telecommunications firms over the remaining 40 Megahertz (MHz) from 2.6GHz spectrum band.
The telecoms regulator had recently announced that only one bidder met the technical qualifications to participate in last month’s 2.6GHz spectrum auction that however failed to hold.
The NCC stated that it had to award the bidder 30MHz slots for $70 million. MTN Nigeria is believed to be the only operator and is in the process of receiving the licence from NCC.
Newly elected president of ATCON, Mr. Olusola Teniola, who spoke with Leadership said spectrum is viewed as quite an expensive asset. He said the price of the spectrum which was believed to be too high amidst scarce foreign exchange and downturn in the economy may have led to the lack of interest of telecom companies and investors.
He said: “When you look at the 2.6GHz and the actions taken by NCC, there was no actual auction performed, there was just one bidder and they bided for a number of slots. NCC is doing a due diligence to see if it can approve it for that bidder. NCC still has 40MHz available in the 2.6GHz. The question I have is foreign direct investment (FDI) runs this industry.”
“There must have been a lack of interest by new players to bring in FDI to cover the requirements on behalf of government or that the members that we could not afford it or those who are non members who can afford it decided not to participate. Those are the facts. I think we need to ask the question: How do we make spectrum affordable?
“That is what we can only do and advise and recommend or suggest to government that for future auctions, this is the tier that seems to the norm for our members through fact-based research. Not emotions now because government also has a duty to get the maximum amount for a limited resource, because it is a very scarce asset” stated Teniola.
Meanwhile, the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Professor Umar Garba Danbatta, has disclosed that the commission would soon meet with telecom operators over the recent auction of 2.6GHz spectrum, which saw only MTN Nigeria, bid for six out of 14 available slots.
NCC had set the minimum base line of the auction of the 2.6GHz spectrum at $16m per slot. A total of 14 slots were offered to interested operators within and outside the shores of Nigeria. The the spectrum could be used to provide any telecommunications services and is offered by the Commission on a technology neutral basis.