There is enough going on in the background to suggest that it’s only a matter of time before broadband penetration in Nigeria becomes evenly spread. The impending roll out auction of the 2.6GHz spectrum by the Nigerian Communications Commission is a visible indication of these claims.
The proposed spectrum is planned to be auctioned at $16m per slot. The auction time table was released in a press conference last week in Lagos. Speaking as the voice of the NCC in the said press conference, the Director spectrum for the NCC, Augustine Nwaulume spoke of the immense possibility that will be ushered in with the broadband penetration. If one thing could be deduced from his conversation; it’s the fact that the broadband boom is closer than speculation suggests.
A total of 14 slots are open to interested operators within and outside the shores of Nigeria, and if for any reason bidders have to exceed the said amount, they will be allowed to pay generic reserve price of $16 million. According to Nwaulume, the reserve price for a 10 year license is dependent on the generic reserve price and the number of lot(s) applied for by an applicant determined by the Intention to bid deposit (IBD) paid. Each lot represents one eligibility point. So if an applicant applies and pays IBD for six lots will have a total of six eligibility.
And while this is an open bid, Nwaulume warned that operators will be sanctioned should they fail to roll out services in record time.
‘’use it or lose it’’ clause, a license will be issued in each state of the federation as well as for the FCT to each winning bidder. “Each winner who does not currently hold a Unified Access Service License (UASL) which is the operational license will be issued one at an additional fee of three hundred and seventy four million, six hundred thousand naira, N374,600,000.00)”
It will be recall that the World Development Report released last month indicates that only about 12% of Nigerians have access to broadband service, we however do hope that this move would accelerate the nation to a digital economy as soonest.