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Watch Swift Networks, Cobranet stake N55.3m to win 5.4Ghz spectrum

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Swift Networks and Cobranet, two Nigerian Internet service providers (ISPs), have offered N55.3 million to win 5.4GHz frequency spectrum slots for delivering broadband service in Lagos.

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), which auctioned the two slots of 5.4GHz spectrum yesterday in Abuja announced the two ISPs as winners the 5.4Ghz frequency spectrum.

NCC said the 5.4GHz spectrum were normally “administratively issued” but the telecoms regulator decided to throw it open for competitive bids through an auction “because of number of prospective bidders.”

Swift Networks and Cobranet each offered to pay N27,659,347.10 per slot of 25Mhz on the 5.4GHz frequency spectrum band netting a total of N55,318,694.2 for the telecoms regulator, which also midwifed the bid process.

The successful completion of the auction sales in Abuja is one of several programmes hoped to further deepen broadband penetration in Nigeria by freeing up frequency spectrum for operators to deploy service across the country.

 

According to the Nigerian telecoms regulator, market opportunities exist in that market segment in Nigeria as broadband penetration stands at 20.98% as at October 2016.

NCC said that the 5.4GHz spectrum were normally “administratively issued” but the telecoms regulator decided to throw it open for competitive bids through an auction “because of number of prospective bidders.”

Six pre-qualified bidders indicated interest for the spectrum on the 5.4Ghz frequency band that will enable them offer broadband service in in Lagos State.

Internet subscribers on Nigeria Mobile GSM networks by October 2016
Internet subscribers on Nigeria Mobile GSM networks by October 2016

In line with the auction requirements, bidders were to pay a non-refundable 10% of the Reserve Price which is N18, 750,000, according to NCC which also underscored that the frequency sales were conducted based on its guiding principles of firmness, fairness and forthrightness.

Engineer Ubale Maska, Executive Commissioner, Technical Standards at NCC, who also functioned as the Auction Overseer at the spectrum sales assured that the process was transparent and equitable.

After this, Engineer Austin Nwaulunne, Director, Spectrum Administration at NCC announced the first round of bids and submission of the first round of bids that flagged off at 9.37am.

The bids were to close at the seventh round with the announcement of the two Nigerian ISPs, Swift Networks and Cobranet, as winners of the two slots of 4.5GHz frequency spectrum.

About Swift Networks Limited

According to the company website, Swift Networks Limited, a facilities-based telecoms services provider was founded in 2002 when it bided and obtained a Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) License from NCC to provide multi-service broadband connectivity services to businesses and residential subscribers.

“Since inception, Swift Networks has invested heavily in “next generation” networking technologies to build a multi-service network platform. Swift Networks holds an exclusive wireless spectrum license from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), allowing it to operate an end-to-end reliable, fibre-like connectivity services in the exclusively licensed and interference-free 3.5GHZ spectrum”, according to the company statement.

So far, Swift Networks has attracted foreign direct investment from The International Finance Corporation (IFC), European Investment Bank and Commonwealth Development Corporation under the Capital Alliance Private Equity II fund scheme managed by Capital Alliance Nigeria.

“Accordingly, Swift Networks has the requisite financial and organizational resources to become the leading broadband connectivity Services provider in Nigeria”, the company says.

About Cobranet

On the other hand, Cobranet Limited, the second winner of the spectrum is an Internet Service and data provider launched into the Nigerian market in 2003.

Cobranet is owned by the Boulos Group of Nigeria which is engaged in Manufacture/Trading/and the Service Business in Nigeria since the 1950s.

The Boulos Group, owners of Cobranet have interests in companies providing goods and services in the Nigerian Market and hold stakes in the manufacture of motor cycles (Suzuki); tissue products (Rose Brand of Products), Distribution of IT products which is done through Compuleb Ltd (Acer/Seagate/Samsung amongst other brands) and Internet Services, according to the ISP.

“Cobranet is proud to provide every segment of the Nigerian society with a reliable and secure Internet Service and Data management solution to the digital universe. Cobranet currently offers corporate Internet plans for organizations and medium sized businesses over a state- of- the -art -radio network in Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt as well as residential plans on a network topology which is rugged, dynamic and fully redundant with negligible downtimes”, according to the company.

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Kolade Akinola Technology Journalist at Technology Times Mobile: + 234 (0) 807 401 6027

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