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MTN, Mafab pay for 5G spectrum licences

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has announced the full payment of $273.6 million each for the 5G Spectrum licences by MTN Communications Nigeria Plc, and Mafab Communications Limited.

The two firms emerged as provisional winners of the 3.5 Gigahertz (GHz) spectrum licences.

The Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, officially confirmed the payment yesterday, just as the deadline set for the two winners of the spectrum auction elapsed.

Danbatta said: “I wish to officially announce that NCC has received and confirmed payments from MTN and Mafab for their acquisition of 1 slot of 100Mhz each in the 3.5Ghz spectrum auction, which was successfully conducted by the Commission on December 13, 2021. They both met the deadline of February 24, 2022 as set by the Commission.”

Following the successful auction on December 13, 2021 and the emergence of MTN and Mafab as winners, they were required to pay the balance of the bid amount of $253.86 million on or before February 24th.

However, aside the $273.6 million, MTN also paid additional $15.9 million, being the bidding sum it offered at the assignment state of the spectrum auction, making it clinch its preferred Lot 1 (3500-3600 Megahertz-MHz) in the 3.5Ghz spectrum.

Mafab Communications on the other hand bided lower at the assignment stage, consequentially settled with Lot 2 (3700-3800Mhz) at no extra cost, according to a statement signed by the NCC’s Director, Public Affairs, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde.

We look forward to accomplishing other deployment timelines in the 5G deployment roadmap, as articulated in the National Policy on 5G Networks for Nigeria’s Digital Economy.

Commending the duo for the successful completion of the transaction, Danbatta said the Board and Management “look forward to accomplishing other deployment timelines in the 5G deployment roadmap, as articulated in the National Policy on 5G Networks for Nigeria’s Digital Economy.”

Recall that ahead of the auction process stipulated in the Information Memorandum (IM), three companies, namely MTN Nigeria, Mafab Communications Ltd. and Airtel Networks Ltd. submitted bids with an initial bid deposit (IBD) of $19.74 million. This represented 10% of the Reserve Price of the 3.5GHz Spectrum by the close of the Bid submission on November 29, 2021.

The Commission published a Public Notice on its decision to award two lots of 100MHz Time Division Duplex (TDD) available in the 3.5 GHz band through an auction process, to support the delivery of ubiquitous broadband services for the deployment of 5G technology in Nigeria.

The deployment of 5G technology is expected to bring substantial network improvements, including higher connection speed, mobility and capacity, as well as low-latency capabilities to communications services in Nigeria.

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