MTN Nigeria has won the frequency spectrum license for the 2.6GHz band as the sole bidder in the auction exercise by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC). MTN said the 10-year license will guarantee superior performance for wireless networks, especially 4G LTE services, including the roll-out of broadband internet services across the country, starting in the major cities of Lagos and Abuja.
Although Nigeria is one of 28 African countries currently offering 4G LTE services, the rate of penetration has been restricted to a few major cities. But, with the acquisition of the license at about N18.96 billion, MTN said in a statement on Wednesday that its success was “a big boost to its plan to deliver global mobile broadband and LTE 4G services to over 60 million customers in Nigeria”.
The company said it was also planning to deploy FDD networks in addition to its existing WIMAX over TDD networks, to ensure for greater consistency with existing 2G and 3G deployments. MTN Nigeria CEO, Ferdi Moolman, said with the 2.6 GHz band, the company will roll out immediately to provide the full range of LTE services to Nigerians, empowering Nigeria with the latest mobile broadband technology.
The NCC has described the spectrum as a significant trigger for a broadband revolution that would ensure greater coverage, access, affordability and innovation for the customers.
“We are very pleased with this development (award of the license) at this time, which is a further step in the right direction for Nigeria,” Mr. Moolman said. “Indeed, MTN is fully aligned and supports the NCC’s objective to deliver broadband services to present and future generations of subscribers, in line with the National Broadband Plan of 2013.”
“This license acquisition further demonstrates MTN’s abiding faith in the future of Nigeria and the resilience of the Nigerian economy. MTN continues to believe in Nigeria and we have expressed this belief in the level of our investment, which currently stands at approximately USD 15 billion and counting.”
He said MTN strongly believed there was need for significant levels of investment in broadband infrastructure and services to truly launch Nigeria into the information age.
In addition to aggressive investment, he said MTN has also built the most extensive private fibre optics superhighway in Africa and the Middle East, covering approximately 16,000 kilometres.
“Our subscribers, especially those in clustered areas such as the major cities, can expect distinct improvements in browsing speed, quality and experience, including fast access to high definition video streaming, as well as conferencing and calling, lag-free music streaming, and improved data uploads and downloads,” Mr. Moolman said.