The Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) will not approve the sale of 9mobile to any bidder without technical competence, Umar Danbatta, executive vice-chairman of the commission, said on Monday.
Danbatta gave the assurance during an interactive session with journalists in Lagos.
He said a preferred bidder for 9mobile had emerged with the full participation of NCC, adding that the bidder was already undergoing financial evaluation.
“Once the Central Bank of Nigeria has done the financial evaluation of the bidder, NCC will also examine the technical capacity of the preferred bidder,” he said.
“If the financial evaluation process was not done properly, the CBN would address questions on that; the examination process is meant to be open and transparent.
“The board of 9mobile was given the mandate with these requirements in mind.”
Danbatta also said that the NCC had licensed four infracos.
“Recently, Zinox Technology Ltd. was licensed for broadband infrastructure provisioning for the South-East Zone while Brinks Integrated Solutions Ltd. was issued licence for the north-east zone,” he said.
“A subsidiary of MainOne Cable Company Ltd. had earlier been licensed to provide services in Lagos. IHS was also issued a licence to cover the North-Central Zone including Abuja.”
Danbatta said much work would still need to be done in the deployment of 4G LTE infrastructure needed to support data services.
“For now, the directive is that 3G should be made 4G LTE infrastructure compatible,” he said.
Danbatta said telecommunications contributed N1.45 trillion to Nigeria’s gross domestic product (GDP) in the first quarter of 2017.
He said the figure rose to N1.5 trillion in the second quarter of 2017 in spite of economic recession.
According to Danbatta, telecommunications industry had investment worth $70 billion at September 2017 although the sector could not boast of $50 million worth of investments as at 2001.
Teleology Holdings Ltd, the preferred bidder, has paid $50 million bid price for the acquisition of Nigeria’s fourth largest mobile operator.
Smile Communications is the reserved bidder for 9mobile.