Nigerian 3G licensees set to pay fees in a matter of days

Winners are expected to pay licence fees that amounted to the reserve price of US$150 million each less the intention-to-bid deposit of US$15 million, within 14 business days of the award of the provisional licence.

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By  Tawanda Chihota Published  March 28, 2007

Nigeria's telecoms regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) awarded four 3G licences March 19 to incumbent mobile operators Celtel Nigeria, Globalcom and MTN Nigeria; as well as to long distance landline operator Alheri Engineering. Winners are expected to pay licence fees that amount to the reserve price of US$150 million each less the intention-to-bid deposit of US$15 million, within 14 business days of the award of the provisional licence. Upon receipt of the cleared funds, the NCC will award the spectrum licence. The NCC originally announced the tender for the licences last year and following its advert for expressions of interest in February 2007, 17 companies responded, and four companies made formal applications. “The four applicants’ submissions were evaluated with respect to the compliance details outlined in the information memorandum,” explained the NCC in a statement. “Each applicant was found to have been fully compliant. In these circumstances, where the number of applicants matches the number of lots, no further allocation process is required. As such, the NCC announced that each of the applicants has been successful in its bid for a 10MHz lot in the 2GHz band”. Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi's Mubadala Development Company claims to be considering bids from as many as 10 telecoms companies to set up operations in Nigeria after securing a licence in the West African country. As reported be CommsMEA in January, NCC confirmed receipt of full payment of US$400 million by the Mubadala Development Company for the award of a unified access service licence in the country. The unified licence consists of permission to operate a mobile network in GSM 900MHz and 1800MHz spectrum bands. The NCC introduced a unified licensing regime in March last year, for the first time allowing operators of wireless local loop operations to roam across wide licence areas. Four unified licences were awarded in May last year, with about two-dozen companies having applied for the concessions.

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