NCC gives key conditions for sale of 9Mobile
The Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) will not approve the sale of 9mobile to any bidder without a verifiable proof of technical competence, the Executive Vice-Chairman of the commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta, said on Monday.
Danbatta gave the assurance at an interactive session with the media in Lagos.
He said that a preferred bidder for 9mobile had emerged with the full participation of NCC, adding that the bidder was already undergoing financial evaluation being handled by Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
“Once the Central Bank of Nigeria has done the financial evaluation of the bidder, NCC will also examine the technical capacity of the preferred bidder.
“If the financial evaluation process was not done properly, the CBN would address questions on that; the examination process is meant to be open and transparent.
“The board of 9mobile was given the mandate with these requirements in mind,” he said.
Danbatta also said that the NCC had licensed four infracos.
“Recently, Zinox Technology Ltd. was licensed for broadband infrastructure provisioning for the South-East Zone while Brinks Integrated Solutions Ltd. was issued licence for the North-East Zone.
“A subsidiary of MainOne Cable Company Ltd. had earlier been licensed to provide services in Lagos.
“IHS was also issued a licence to cover the North-Central Zone including Abuja,” he said.
Danbatta said that much work would still need to be done in the deployment of 4G LTE infrastructure needed to support data services.
“For now, the directive is that 3G should be made 4G LTE infrastructure compatible.’’
Danbatta said that telecommunications contributed N1.45 trillion to the Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the first quarter of 2017.
He said that the figure rose to N1.5 trillion in the second quarter of 2017 in spite of economic recession.
According to Danbatta, telecommunications industry has attracted investment in the region of $70 billion at September 2017 although the sector could only boast of about $50 million worth of investments as at 2001.
The preferred bidder for 9mobile, Teleology Holdings Ltd. has paid $50 million bid price for the acquisition of Nigeria’s fourth largest mobile operator.
Smile Communications is the reserved bidder for 9mobile.
Danbatta said NCC mandate to connect every part of the nation is top priority, hence the clamour for the deployment of broadband and pervasive broadband deployment.
The EVC who sees broadband as a flagship of the Commission’s 8 point agenda said “the potentials in broadband are enormous which explains why the entire global community is investing huge resources to exploit and assimilate broadband that is expected to guide global economic index of development in the future”.
“With a combination of licences for infrastructure provisioning and spectrum auctions and re-farming of some of the existing spectrum to make them more efficient, we hope to attain the recommendation of the National Broadband Plan (2013-2018).”
Speaking on various other issues plaguing the industry, the EVC said, “using a combination of regulatory frameworks and incentives, the Nigerian Communications Commissions is working towards bridging the gaps currently existing in various parts of the country in terms of quality of service.”
Since the consumer remains king, “we cannot talk about protecting the consumer without talking seriously about the issue of QoS. We’re currently seeking for a review of the National Economic Council ‘s recommendations on ways to eliminate multiple taxation and regulations that have created bottlenecks in the provision of services in different states”.
He also added that measures should be put in place to ensure security in the mobile money ecosystem where Nigeria is still lagging behind its counterparts at 1 per cent penetration compared to Kenya and Ghana at 60 and 40 per cent respectively, both countries’ mobile money ecosystem being driven by the telcos and Nigeria’s by the banks. “The telcos can become super agents in the regard”.
While the deployment of 4G infrastructure will drive next generation communication application, “there’s a policy that will drive 5G deployment in which Nigeria is already on the map of those using 5G”.