December 13, 2021

MTN, MAFAB win 5G licenses @$273.6m

5G,  5G rollout: NCC gives final approval to MTN, Mafab

…Airtel drops off @$270m

By Prince Osuagwu

In a dramatic fashion, a telecom under dog, MAFAB Communications, emerged from nowhere, Monday, to become one of the winners of 3.5GHz Spectrum licenses.
The licenses are necessary to deploy 5G services in Nigeria.

The other winner is MTN Nigeria.

The third bidder, Airtel Nigeria, dropped out at $270m.

The winning price was $273, 600,000 million and the winners are expected to pay on or before February 24, 2022.

They are to pay in Naira denomination at the prevailing CBN rate.

Announcing result of the auction, Executive Vice Chairman of Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, Prof Umar Danbatta, said MTN Nigeria was the highest bidder with additional $15,900,000 million to get Lot 1, while MAFAB Communications added $11,120,000 million to get Lot 2.

The auction was keenly contested with the three bidders participating actively till the 11th round.

The bid opened with $199, 374m, from the reserved bid of $197.4m

The first round of the auction started at a price of $199, 347,256, second round closed at $201,367,740 million, the third at $204,388,256, the fourth at $209,497,962.50, the fifth at $215,782,901.38, the sixth at $224,414,217.43, seven round at $231, 146,643.96, eight round, $240.392,509.71, round nine at $251,210,176.65, round ten at $263,017,050.77 million, round eleven closed at $275,904,886.25 million.

Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Alhaji Ibrahim Pantami while flagged off the Spectrum auction in Abuja at around 11.00 am .

The auction started after a brief ceremony where the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Professor Isa Ibrahim Pantami , Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission ( NCC) board of directors, Professor Adeolu Akande and Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Professor Umar Danbatta addressed the participants and observers on the imperative of the spectrum auction.

In his address Pantami traced the journey from 2019 when the 5G technology was tested in Lagos, Abuja and some other cities in Nigeria and found to be suitable and desirable for country. He also reminded the audience that the test was also followed by an investigation on claims the technology had health dangers. He said the result of the investigation showed 5G technology had no health hazards.

He expressed optimism that by 2022 Nigeria will have the largest 5G coverage in Africa. He is also of the opinion that 5G, could solve, among others, some of the security challenges in the country, since the technology provides real time services and platforms.

Pantami also noted that 5G will go a long way in promoting the economic development of Nigeria, because digital technology is a key enabler of other sectors, especially the financial sector.

He asked that the auction be transparent, fair and just to all parties as the administration of president Mohammed Buhari believes in fairness and justice.

The Chairman of NCC Board of Directors, Professor Adeolu Akande said the purpose of the 3.5 Ghz Spectrum auction was to support the deployment of 5G technology in Nigeria, for the benefits of Nigerians.

All three companies, MTN Nigeria, Airtel Nigeria and Mafab Communications that expressed desire to participate at the auction, are present at the auction.

The MTN team was led by its chief Executive officer, Karl Toriola , Mafab Communications was led by its chairman, Alhaji Musibau Bashir, and Airtel was led by1 Chief Financial officer, Mr S. Krishna Menon.

On Friday, December 10, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) successfully carried out a mock session for the 3.5 gigahertz (GHz) spectrum auction for the deployment of the Fifth Generation (5G) network in the country in preparation for the actual auction.