Nigerian spectrum auction attracts only one participant

Only one qualified bidder took part in Nigeria’s 2.6GHz spectrum auction, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has confirmed.

The auction will be abandoned, with the interested party – believed to be market leader MTN – paying $96 million for the desired spectrum. NCC noted that the sole bidder had indicated that it could purchase 6 of the 14 available lots – each with a reserve price of $16 million – and had paid the bid deposit.

Since the information memorandum for the auctions states that “if the aggregate demand from approved bidders is less than, or equal to the number of lots on offer, the commission will provisionally award the license to the party/parties at the reserve price”, holding an auction is now no longer required.

However, MTN stated that it had not received any news regarding the auction from the NCC. The company is understood to be interested in the spectrum “to support its broadband programme”. In November last year, the operator paid $94 million to extend its 900MHz and 1.8GHz licences to August 2021. MTN also holds a 3G spectrum licence and a unified access licence.

The NCC stated that it would issue a licence for a total of 30MHz in the 2.6GHz frequency band once it has finished conducting due diligence processes.

Nigeria’s four largest operators – MTN along with Airtel, Etisalat and Globacom – are all aiming to deploy commercial 4G networks by 2017.

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