The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has reaffirmed its commitment to the laid-down processes and schedule in achieving a successful auction of the two lots of 3.5GHz Spectrum as planned.
It will be recalled that the Commission held a final stakeholders forum that opened the draft Information Memorandum (IM) to a final scrutiny, after which the final Information Memorandum for the Auction was published on the Commission’s website.
While reassuring the public of the Commission’s commitment to the auction schedules, the NCC advised interested applicants to adhere to the requirements as specified in the Information Memorandum for participation in the Auction.
In a statement from the NCC on Wednesday, signed by the Director, Public Affairs, Reuben Muoka, the Commission stated: “The Nigerian Communications Commission, in line with Section 121 of the Nigerian Communications Act 2003 (the Act) has the responsibility to manage and administer Spectrum resources for the communications sector in an efficient and effective manner. This is for the socio-economic benefit of the country.
Accordingly, it is the Commission’s responsibility, as the industry regulator, to ensure that harmonized and standardized Spectrum resources are made available in a timely manner to ensure its optimal utilization. The impact of the Commission’s regulatory activities in this regard is evident in the contribution of ICT, and telecommunications in particular, to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country.”
The statement went further to note that the Act allows available Spectrum resources to be licensed through different methods. “Spectrum licensing via Auction is one of the most transparent methods of assigning Spectrum resources globally. It is important to note that the Commission in response to requests for more Spectrum lots to be made available during the 2021 Stakeholders’ engagement had estimated a period of 24 months to clear all encumbrances in the remaining two (2) lots of the 3.5GHz band.”
The Information Memorandum that guided the 2021 Auction process further stated the Commission’s intention to migrate incumbent users of the remaining portion of the C-band to free up Spectrum and make it available for the deployment of new services. The Commission has achieved the clearance earlier than estimated 24 months, thus making the Spectrum available for licensing.
“The Commission wishes to reiterate that as a regulatory body holding in trust the management and administration of scarce spectrum resources on behalf of Federal government that it will continue to make available, the much needed harmonised and standardised Spectrum resources to the industry. The Auction is designed to boost competition by making it open to both new entrants as well as existing licensees,” the NCC reassured.
Following public consultations and stakeholder engagement, the NCC in the exercise of its functions under the Nigerian Communications Act 2003 (the Act) published the IM for its upcoming auction of the remaining lots of 2 x 100MHz in the 3.5GHz spectrum band to support 5G deployment in Nigeria.”
By the provisions of the IM, the NCC placed the Application Start Date as Monday, November 21, 2022, with December 05, 2022 as the end date for submission of application, and end date for payment of mandatory Intention-To-Bid Deposit (IBD), heralding the end of the Pre-Qualification Stage and notification of qualified bidders on December 09, 2022.
Going by the IM, a mock auction will take place on December 16, while the main auction will be held on December 19, 2022.
After the auction, publication of provisional winners and notification of provisional award of licence will be done on December 21, 2022, thereafter, winners will have a 30-day period for payment for Spectrum Licence and Operational Licence (where applicable) by January 20, 2023.
Final result of successful winners will be published on January 23, 2023.