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NCC Seeks FMC Intervention over NBC/MTN N36Bn Spectrum Licence Deal



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Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has washed its hands off the N36billion spectrum licence deal entered into by the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and MTN Nigeria about five months ago.

However, NCC said it will take the matter to the Frequency Management Council (FMC) for review of the process.

News broke in September 2015 that MTN Nigeria procured a 700 MHz spectrum license from NBC to provide pay TV broadcasting services.‎

MTN purchased the license for N36 billion (then valued at $154 million), which NBC said it will apply into setting the country’s analog switchoff back on course.

According to NBC, the money is only a little less than 50% of its NGN70 billion ($351 million) switchover budget.‎

But, Prof. Umar Dambata, NCC’s executive vice chairman, in the latest edition of the Commission’s newsletter, said that the reason why the Commission washed off its hand was that the deal between the NBC and MTN Nigeria was done without its involvement.

The NCC boss said it would seek arbitration and mediation through the Frequency Management Council, which is the highest authority on the management of spectrums.

Dambatta was quoted to have said the 700MHz spectrum shouldn’t have been auctioned by the NBC.

This, according to him, is because it is a telecommunication spectrum that is important for broadband penetration.

He was quoted as saying, “We do not intend to join issues with them (NBC) but we intend to avail ourselves of existing mechanism for arbitration and mediation through the Frequency Management Council.”