Nigerian daily Vanguard reports that the presidency has ordered the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to start fresh licensing for spectrum in the 2.3GHz frequency band, declaring the previous contest void.
An official statement by presidential spokesman Olusegun Adeniyi said: 'having carefully reviewed official reports and representations from stakeholders, and after availing himself of competent advice on the recent licensing of the 2.3GHz spectrum band, President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua has come to the conclusion that the letters and spirit of the stipulated rules and guidelines were not adequately complied with.'
Mobitel, Spectranet and fixed-wireless operator Multilinks had emerged as winners out of 41 applicants for the four slots in the 2.3GHz band after each of them paid NGN1.368 billion (USD9.33 million) in May 2009. The trio will have their licences revoked and will receive a refund, although there remains uncertainty as to whether they will be eligible to participate in the new bidding process.
Minister of Information and Communications, Dora Akunyili, issued a directive for the cancellation of the process in May, following a number of complaints from operators faulting the commission on how the process was conducted, especially the one week timeframe given to pay the necessary fees.