The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has confirmed that Main One, owners of MainOne undersea cable and IHS, a telecoms infrastructure company, have won two of the first batch of Infrastructure Companies (Infraco) licences issued by the telecoms regulator.
Dr Eugene Juwah, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, just confirmed the successful bid by the two companies in the initial round of licensing round for the Lagos State (MainOne) and IHS (North Central) region of the country.
Dr Juwah dropped the hint today while fielding question at the 4th Industry ICT Stakeholders Forum organised in Lagos by the Ministry of Communication Technology.
According to him, the two companies emerged winners in the bids and the next round of licence bids for the remaining five regions of the country will be held in the course of the year.
Ahead of today’s announcement of the two winners of the Infraco licensing round, Juwah had said the licensing of Infrastructure Companies (Infraco) is also part of triple initiatives by the regulator to address telecoms infrastructure deficit in Nigeria.
According to him, the triple initiatives include the sale of the 2.3 GHz licence, the proposed licensing of Infracos and the implementation of Open Access Model for the industry.
Under the plan, the EVC stated that there would be the establishment of Infracos that are geographically focused to support and achieve the objective of the new national broadband network.
In articulating the need to license the seven Infracos that, the regulator said that the winners will deploy a broadband network infrastructure “that is faster and more secure than what is available today.”
According to Juwah, the Infracos would get one licence per geopolitical zone of Nigeria and one to cater for Lagos State alone.
“This is because Lagos State occupies a special status due to the size of its market”, said Juwah, who underscores that activities of the Infracos would complement “the existing Integrated Operators that offer end-to-end services and long distance operators offering wholesale services.”
Juwah explained that “Infracos shall specifically bridge market gaps in the metropolitan and regional fibre segment as well as provide end-to-end transmission services, to be available at point of access (PoAs), to access seekers.”
In line with this, the Infracos would strictly deal with Wholesale wireless last mile operators (e.g. Bitflux Ltd), Retail service Providers (RSP), Independent Operators/wholesale operators “who require to lease transmission services and other access seekers such as Vertically integrated Operators.”
The NCC has also articulated a set of guiding principles to ensure the success of this initiative, he added.
These set of guiding principles include Government financial support, Infraco mandate, ownership structure, rollout targets, Interconnection obligation, pricing, deployment strategy and risk management.
“These commercial principles were deliberated upon by industry stakeholders in the Commission`s usual engagement where the stakeholders expressed their concerns on market monopoly and unfair competition”, Juwah added.
Before now, the EVC allayed the fears of the industry and stated that the licensing of Infracos will complement efforts in broadband infrastructure rollout, and will not in any way create unfair competition or market monopoly.