5G spectrum: MTN, Mafab Win Auction At $547m

After almost eight hours and 11 rounds of bidding, MTN Nigeria and Mafab Nigeria Communications Limited came tops at the Nigerian Communications Commission auction, in Abuja on Monday, for the two available lots of 100 MHz TDD slots of 3.5 GHz band for the deployment of fifth-generation network in the country.

The Nigerian Communications commission (NCC) earlier approved MTN Nigeria, Mafab and Airtel Networks Limited for the bidding process that participated in the 5G auction bidding which was put at $199.37m, as against the reserve price of $197.4m set by the NCC.

The auction ended at $273.6m for each available lots, as MTN and Mafab emerged winners. Airtel remained in the bidding process until it fell out in the last round. MTN paid an extra sum of $15.9m to grab the preferred Lot One, while Mafab was assigned Lot Two, at no additional cost.

Mafab, is a new entrant in the telecoms sector and was licensed in July 2020. The company led by, Musibau Bashiru, has an international data access license from the NCC.

The winners have until February 2022 to pay for the spectrum, or lose it. According to the commission, if any of the winners does not have a Unified Access Service License -the operational licence for the frequency spectrum – it has to obtain the UASL at an additional fee of N374.6m.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami, has assured stakeholders that 5G will not compromise security in the country but would rather solve some of the security challenges in the country.

“We have already made a number of giant strides in the development of our digital economy and the development of 5G networks will further support our efforts. The review showed that 5G is safe for deployment in Nigeria and will not compromise our security as a country.” Prof Pantami said.

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