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Operators await LTE licence auction

By on May 20, 2013

Telecoms operators are waiting for the auction of the operating licences of Long Term Evolution (LTE) of 4G.

Chief Executive Officer, Airtel Nigeria, Segun Ogunsanya, said the telco has launched the technology in the country, adding that it was a huge success.

National operator, Globacom, said the contract for its national equipment upgrade which costs over $1 billion is also aimed at the LTE licence. The first contract was struck between the firm and Chines equipment vendor, Huawei; the second was with ZTE. While the former costs $750 million, the latter is $500 million.

Officials of the equipment vendors said on completion, the telco would only require software upgrade to plug into the LTE when the licence is issued.

Already, the special purpose vehicle for the merger of MTS, Multilinks and Starcomms, Cpacom, said it would provide superior voice and data services to its customers, which are riding on the latest LTE technology.

Regulator of the telecoms sector, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) had said it would auction the licences that would allow telecoms operators to deploy LTE or 4G in 2005.

Wikipedia, a free online knowledge platform, defines LTE as a standard for wireless communication of high-speed data for mobile phones and data terminals based on the GSM/EDGE and UMTS/HSPA network technologies, increasing the capacity and speed using a different radio interface together with core network improvements.

Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, NCC, Dr Eugene Juwah, said already, people on 800 MegaHertz (MHz) were being upgraded to LTE, adding that the regulator would also auction the 3.5 GigaHertz (GHz) and 2.6 GHz spectra to operators.

According to him, these spectra are in the custody of the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC), adding that the broadcast sector regulator has agreed to let the spectra go.

“We are about to auction LTE licences. We are upgrading people on 800MHZ to LTE. We are also going to auction our 3.5 GHz and 2.6 GHz. They are not in the custody of the NCC but the NBC. They have agreed to make it available in 2015. It took us five years to do this. We are a serious member of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU),” Juwah said.

(The Nation)