5G: MTN, Mafab win 3.5Ghz spectrum auction at $273m

MTN Nigeria and MAFAB Communications Limited have been awarded the slots for the 3.5 gigahertz (Ghz) Fifth Generation (5G) Technology spectrum as they emerged winners of the auction by the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC).

NCC conducted the auction at the Transcorp Hotel in Abuja on Monday.

The auction ended with the total sum of $273.6 million per lot of 100 MHz TDD with the bidding in 2 stages that came in Main stage and Assignment stage.

In the assignment stage, two slots of 100MHzTDD available at 3.5GHz band were for bidding to support the delivery of broadband services for the deployment of 5G in Nigeria.

The bidders which were Mobile Telephone Network (MTN), Airtel Nigeria and MAFAB Communications ended at the Main stage, dropping down to two bidders.

This disclosure is contained in a press statement issued by NCC and signed by its Director, Public Affairs, Ikechukwu Adinde, and can be seen on its website.

The NCC was auctioning two slots in the 3.5 gigahertz (Ghz) 5G spectrum.

The first round of the auction, which took off with the three bidders, started with the price of the spectrum $197.4 million to $199, 374 million until it ended in round 10 at $263,017,050.77 million.

NCC’s Executive-Chairman, Professor Umar Danbatta, who announced the results, maintained that the commission followed due process for the bidding with the winners expected to pay on February 24, 2022, with the prevailing Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) exchange rate.

He recalled that the allocations at the international level were granted approval for 5G trial in Nigeria in November 2019.

Danbatta said, “The auction held successfully today, Monday, December 13, 2021, at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja with the three bidders competing for the available two slots. The Commission adopted the Ascending Clock Auction format which ended after Round 11 and proceeded to the Assignment Stage. It is my pleasure to announce that at the end of the auction, Mafab Communications Limited and MTN Communications Nigeria Limited emerged as provisional licence winners.

“Arising from the above, the Winning Bid Price for the Auction is USD$273,600,000 for each lot of 100 MHz TDD.’’

He congratulated the winners and thanked the government for its support and commitment to the deployment of 5G technology in Nigeria.

He said this would bring sustainable network improvements, higher connection speed, mobility and capacity as well as low latency capacities to Communications services in Nigeria.

He said, “The Provisional Licence Winners are expected to pay the Winning Bid Price less the Intention-to-Bid Deposit, by Feb. 24, 2022. We are happy to state that the Auction process was efficient, fair, well-organised and transparent, and was designed to deliver the ideal outcome.

“Accordingly, the strongest bidders have emerged provisional winners, raising a substantial amount for the Federal Government. Today’s auction represents a culmination of all the efforts at the international and national levels that have prepared Nigeria for this momentous leap forward.

“The auction is based on the powers bestowed on the Commission by Section 121 of the Nigerian Communications Act 2003 as well as the Licensing Regulations 2019.’’

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