NCC to review 2.6GHz spectrum auction

By Kokumo Goodie, Lagos, Nigeria

The Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof Umar Garba Danbatta, says the Commission will soon meet with operators over the recent auction of 2.6 gigahertz (GHz) spectrum, which saw only MTN Nigeria bidding for six out of the 14 available slots.

The EVC said: “We are doing a post mortem.  And we have not yet met with the operators to find out why they did not bid, except one operator."

“The intention is to be able to know their reasons, and to know in what way the regulator can come in to relax some of the conditions in the process, if this relaxation can lead to more operators going for the remaining eight.

“I am sure the commission will be disposed to looking at the reasons that prevented other operators from coming forward to bid, except only one.”

He said the commission incorporates elements of flexibility in its dealing with operators, in order to continue to sustain the growth in the sector, which he said, “has the potential to provide an alternative to oil and gas”. Speaking while receiving a consortium of international investors led by UBS South Africa, the NCC chief lauded the performance of the nation’s telecoms industry in the first quarter of 2016, which he said would even improve in the subsequent quarters of the year.

Said he: “I think we are happy with the level of compliance to regulatory stipulations in general, minus the MTN incident which cast some sort of shadow in our regulatory derive to ensure sustainability and stability of the industry.

“I am happy, we are putting that one behind us, and this is attested to by recent statistics by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) that the industry recorded a growth of 0.5 per cent to GDP in comparison to the same period last year.

“In monetary terms this is going to translate to over N1.4 trillion, only in the first quarter of this year.

“While other sectors of the economy are recording negative growth, the telecom industry has been recording positive growth and I think it is poised to grow even further in the subsequent quarters of the year.”

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