South African telecom company, MTN, has acquired a licence to provide digital-terrestrial pay TV services in Nigeria, the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has said.
MTN has paid N34billion to the NBC for the licence, which will enable it to provide pay TV services over Nigeria’s digital-terrestrial network.
The deal follows the country’s failure to meet its ITU commitments to finalise digital switchover this year. The NBC admitted in June that it would not make the deadline and agreed a new deadline of June 20 2017 in coordination with neighbouring states.
NBC’s DG, Emeka Mba explained on Wednesday that the MTN deal would provide just under 50% of the budget to finance digital switch-over. According to him, the spectrum sold was “lying fallow” and it was sold with government approval.
His words: “I’m pleased to inform you that we have successfully licensed MTN Nigeria Ltd to use a part of the 700 MHz to provide digital pay TV broadcasting services. We have thus raised 34 Billion Naira, slightly less than 50% of our budget. I am pleased to inform you, also, that through this singular move, Nigeria has once again pointed the way for other African countries struggling with the effort of finding financing for their own digital switchover programmes”
He explained further: “It may be necessary to clarify that the use of the band, 470 – 862MHz solely for UHF Television Broadcasting Service on a primary basis in Nigeria predates both the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC). As a matter of fact, most Administrations in ITU Region 1 use the entire 470 – 862 MHz for UHF Television Broadcasting prior to ITU WRC-2007 conference”