In a bid to facilitate entry into the telecommunications market in the country and ensure that Nigeria becomes an information-rich society, the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, has reviewed its licensing policy by adding new services to its Class licence category.

The NCC in a statement stated that the review is in addition to the existing class licenses like Payphone, Cybercafé and Telecentres, adding that interested parties willing to participate in the provision of telecommunications services in Nigeria can obtain information on License Requirement & Procedure, Deregulated Services, Post License Award Evaluation, Application Form, List of Licensees, Fee Structures and Auctions.   The Commission had recently pegged the Reserve Price for the licensing of 3G spectrum license at $150 million through an auction process in order to promote competition and ensure fairness.

The spectrum blocks to be made available for auction include the 40MHz of spectrum within the 2GHz band. The Commission will offer this spectrum as four paired blocks of 10 MHz. Spectrum pairs will be separated by a 90MHz duplex spacing. Blocks will be allocated as follows, Block A:1920-1930MHz paired with 2110-2120 MHz, Block B: 1930-1940MHz, paired with 2120-2130MHz,Block C: 1940-1950, paired with 2130-2140MHz and Block D: 1950-1960MHz paired with 2140-2150MHz.The statement added that "Spectrum will be allocated on a service and technology neutral basis without the specification of guard bands. Licensees will be required to co-ordinate spectrum use to avoid interference". The NCC however reiterated that participation in the auction process will be limited to existing Nigerian Licensed Network Operators only. The Licences include, the following classifications: Universal Access Service Licence (UASL), Digital Mobile Licence (DML), Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) Licence,Long Distance Operator License, National Carrier Licence and Private Network Links Licence.

However, applicants, according to the NCC, will not be required to submit financial or technical plans in the pre-qualification process, except details of company ownership structure and confirmation of compliance with the rules of the auction. To participate in the auction, a bidder must be a limited liability company incorporated in Nigeria and must not be involved with any other bidder.

A Consortia, according to the statement, may bid for a licence subject to the requirement that they include a Nigerian telecommunications licensee. Bidders will also be required to lodge a USD $15 million (i.e.10% of Reserve Price) Intention to Bid Deposit with the Commission.

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