In Brief: Nigeria set to award spectrum to one bidder 

Nigeria's planned sale of spectrum in the 2.6 GHz band failed to draw much interest and as a result the country's telecom regulator is on the verge of awarding frequencies to the one qualified bidder, without the need to conduct an auction.Interested parties had until late April to register to take part in the auction but the process produced only one qualified bidder.The bidder, whose identity has not been disclosed, registered to bid for six of the 14 lots. The NCC is undertaking a due diligence exercise, but expects to grant 30 MHz of 2.6-GHz spectrum to the one bidder at the reserve price of US$96 million.

***Vimpelcom and CK Hutchison are holding asset sale talks with Sky and Iliad in an effort to win European Commission support for the proposed merger of their Italian mobile operations.Anonymous sources cited by Bloomberg claimed the parties are also in talks with Swisscom-owned Fastweb and ISP Tiscali. Vimpelcom and Hutchison have offered to sell spectrum and approximately 5,000 cell towers, facilitating the entry of a new mobile operator and easing the Commission's concerns about the deal's impact on competition.

***Global sales of smartphones to end users totaled 349 million units in the first quarter of 2016, a 3.9 percent increase over the same period in 2015, according to Gartner. Smartphone sales represented 78 percent of total mobile phone sales in the first quarter of 2016.Smartphone sales were driven by demand for low-cost smartphones in emerging markets.

***SK Telecom (SKT), South Korea’s largest cellco by subscribers, has revealed plans to introduce LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) Pro technology next month, according to the Korea Herald, with the operator expected to tap into spectrum secured during a frequency auction held in early May. As previously reported SKT emerged as the biggest spender in the recent spectrum sale, bidding a total of KRW1.278 trillion (USD1.1 billion) for the ‘D’ (KRW950 billion) and ‘E’ (KRW328 billion) blocks, which together gave it 60MHz in the 2.6GHz band.Now, with SKT aiming to offer downlink speeds of up to 500Mbps using LTE-A Pro, it has also indicated plans to boost rates further by offering connectivity via five aggregated spectrum bands.

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