2.3GHZ BROADBAND SPECTRUM AUCTION: TELECOMS COMPANIES BRACE UP FOR BID WAR
Indications have emerged that the completion of 2.3GHz spectrum by the NCC could spark a bid war between telecoms giants in the country. MTN Nigeria, Globacom, Airtel and Zinox Telecoms are said to be putting finishing touches to their bids for the wholesale broadband licence offered by the industry regulator. Companies that could also come into the fray include Etisalat, Spectranet, Main One, Mobitel and Brymedia. Auction for the 2.3GHz spectrum will be concluded by March 14.
NCC had in November 2013 released the information memorandum for the spectrum auction, which tentatively comes up on February 19 and 20, 2014. In the information memorandum, the reserve price for the 30MHz of unpaired spectrum for a 10-year licence was set at $23 million (N3.6 billion).
According to NCC, on completion of the auction process, it will issue a 10-year spectrum licence and Wholesale Wireless Access Service Licence (WWASL). The WWASL Operational Licence will attract an additional fee of N155,000,000.00, which must be paid by the winner that does not currently hold a Unified Access Service Licence (UASL), bringing the minimum payment expected from these set of bidders to N3.75 billion if they eventually win the bid.
This rule precludes MTN, Glo, Airtel and Etisalat, which already hold UASLs.
The proposed licensing of 2.3GHz spectrum has been influenced by the need to provide retail internet service providers (ISPs) and other users with the requisite wholesale wireless access and bandwidth to provide services to their subscribers in consonance with the National Broadband Plan of 2013.