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Telecoms firms jostle for N44 billion spectrum licence


Nigerian-Communications-Commission-NCC-LogoThere are indications that some GSM firms, including MTN and Etisalat, have expressed interest in the auction of the N44 billion 2.6GHz spectrum planned for this week by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

The Guardian gathered at the weekend that some major Internet Service Providers (ISPs), which are largely based in Lagos, would also be competing for the frequency.

A senior MTN official, who spoke with The Guardian confidentially, said the South Africa-owned telecommunications firm was very much interested in the frequency and had done the necessary things towards getting it.

“We are very much interested in the 2.6 GHz spectrum licence. At MTN, we are always ready to do things that will improve our services and become more beneficial to our teeming customers. Spectrum acquisition is part of that process and we have done the necessary things ahead of the auction,” he stated.

Also, a senior official at Etisalat told The Guardian that the telecommunications firm was considering participation in the auction. According to her, “We are not ruling out anything. The 2.6GHz spectrum is still very much under consideration.”

It will be recalled that Etisalat, right from the days of its pioneer Chief Executive Officer, Steve Evans, had clamoured for the release of more spectrum for service providers, claiming that it was needed for service expansion, especially to the hinterland.

The Guardian also gathered that some major ISPs, especially the Lagos-based ones, would be locking horns with the big GSM firms to get shares of the 2.6GHz spectrum.

However, at a post-event interview in Lagos last week, the Director of Public Affairs at NCC, Tony Ojobo, said he could not disclose the number of companies that had shown interest in the bidding process because he did not have such information.
“I don’t have that information about market response on the level of interest shown so far, whatever happens, the commission would look at the level of response and decide on what to do,” he stated.

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