The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has cancelled its planned 3.5 GHz spectrum auction following the emergence of Airtel Networks Limited as the sole bidder for the process.
A statement issued last night by the commission’s director of public affairs, Reuben Mouka stated that by the close of business on Monday, December 5, 2022, only two companies, Airtel and Standard Network & Connections Limited (Standard Network) expressed interest in the auction of the 3.5GHz Spectrum band.
However, only Airtel paid the Intention to Bid Deposit (IBD) as stipulated in the Information Memorandum (IM) whereas, Standard Network sent an email appeal for the deadline to be extended by twelve (12) working days which was not acceptable in view of the auction timetable.
Mouka stated that Airtel aving met all the provision in the IM, it has, therefore, emerged as the sole bidder. “Consequently, there shall be no further bidding and the Commission will proceed to the Assignment Stage in line with the published Information Memorandum guiding the licensing process.”
The Commission was supposed to hold the 3.5GHz spectrum auction on December 19, 2022 in Abuja following the release of the final collation of Information Memorandum (IM).
The NCC offered the remaining two Lots of 100 MHz TDD Spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band ranging from 3400 – 3500 MHz and 3600 – 3700 MHz, totalling 200 MHz for auction. The winner will receive 100MHz Lot.
With Airtel emerging sole bidder, the Commission would receive $273,600,000.00 or its equivalent in naira at the prevailing Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) rates. The 3.5GHz spectrum has a 10- year licence tenure renewable after the first expiry.
Last December, MTN Nigeria and Mafab Communication won the first 3.5GHz spectrum to deploy firth generation (5G) technology in Nigeria. MTN in August became the first mobile network operator in West Africa to roll out 5G technology.
5G mobile technology is far ahead of previous technology standards. It brings about faster delivery of ubiquitous broadband services, allow for real-time communication and improve data transfer, especially upstream speeds.
5G technology would allow millions of Nigerian telecom consumers are going to experience, will bring about 10 times user experience throughput, 10 times connection density, 10 times decrease in latency, three times spectrum efficiency, 100 times traffic capacity and 100 times network efficiency.