The announcement of fresh licensing for spectrum in the 2.3GHz frequency band after the previous process was declared void, has conjured an array of feelings but more applicants unfazed by diatribes between Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) and Ministry of Information and Communications are queuing to grab one of the four licenses on offer, Nigeria CommunicationsWeek can now reveal.
Unlike the initial exercise when 41 applications were received for the frequency touted to possess limitless possibilities including chance to make broadband affordable and enhanced in the country, more companies have indicated interest.
A senior official of the NCC who pleaded anonymity confirmed that enquiries have been pouring in but said that it was too early for enquiries and speculations, adding that the Commission is yet to come out with a timetable and procedure for the new licensing round.
Asked if the process would be completed before the end of the year, the official replied: “why not, but there are so much speculations, people would just have to wait for the Commission to release the timetable, speculation gives room for wrong information.”
The 2.3GHz frequency band is considered very important in the race leading up to broadband revolution because it helps operators provide mobile WiMAX services that are potentially much more transformative than any lone technological item and it is the next cash cow for financially haemorrhaging telcos.
The first attempt to sell the band was entangled in a controversy at the close of the bid when three companies: Mobitel Limited, Spectranet and Galaxy Wireless were said to have met the obligations and later NCC claimed that Galaxy Wireless did not pay up as at when due and allegedly attempted to replace it with Multilinks-Telkom.
Piqued by the torrents of the complaints, Dora Akunyili, minister of information and communications, cancelled the licences, citing improper bidding and auctioning process and ordered a fresh sale and President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua upheld the minister’s stand a fortnight ago.
Yar’Adua said the letters and spirit of the stipulated rules and guidelines were not adequately complied with but the NCC still maintains that there was nothing wrong with the process.