Again, 2.6GHz spectrum auction fails to hold
• NCC yet to give reasons
• Analysts apprehensive over 2018 30% broadband penetration target
The planned 2.6 GHz spectrum auction, which was scheduled to hold yesterday, according to the Information Memorandum (IM), might have been put on hold by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).As at press time yesterday, NCC was yet to give any reason for not holding the auction as stated in the time table.
However, an industry source, told The Guardian that the commission appeared not to have gotten the expected investor run for auction.According to the source, it appeared there has been low turnout of investors for the sale of the 2.6 GHz frequency spectrum.
The commission had planned to start the auction from May 16 to 20, starting with a mock auction on Monday and proper auction yesterday (Wednesday, May 18), but it didn’t hold, this is even as the commission has remained silent on the matter since Monday.
Should the commission eventually fail to hold the auction this week, it will be the third time it will be postponing the frequency sales.
The commission had during the tenure of the former Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Dr. Eugene Juwah, postponed the auction twice, citing need to perfect the plan. He however, could not get it done till he left office in July 2015.
While the commission remained silent about the status of things as regards the auction, which is expected to add about $44 billion to government coffers, the body language of the Director of Public Affairs at NCC, Tony Ojobo, at a post-event briefing in Lagos, last week, had shown pessimism about the prospect of holding the auction this week.
In the interview, Ojobo had said he couldn’t disclose the number of companies that might have shown interest in the bidding process because he does not have such information.
“I don’t have that information about market response on the level of interest shown so far, however, whatever happens, the commission would look at the level of response and decide what to do”, he stated.
According to him, it is also important to know that the global economic situation would also determine what happens.“Investors and people are looking at how, where, when and volume to invest. This situation is not peculiar to Nigeria alone, but globally. These are the factors that will determine market response.”
Meanwhile, industry analysts have said that failure to get the auction done may impact negatively on the Federal Government’s 30 per cent broadband penetration target of 2018.
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