The Nigerian government announced Monday that MTN and Mafab Communications Limited won the 5G spectrum auction conducted by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) at the Transcorp Hotel in Abuja.
In the auction of the 3.5 gigahertz (GHz) spectrum, MTN Nigeria, Mafab Communications Ltd, and Airtel Networks Ltd participated using the Ascending Clock Auction System. After participating in an opening-round, each company went through the bidding room.
The State Security Services (SSS) was tasked with monitoring the representatives of the companies who were not allowed to leave the room until the process was over.
Initially set at $197,400,00 the reserve price per lot was repeatedly raised by the auction manager, reaching $275,904,886.25 at round 11 when Airtel backed out. The bidding process then moved to the assignment stage.
During the assignment stage, the winning bidder(s) will specify the date when they will pay the upfront fee. MTN offered $15,900,000 and was assigned lot one, whereas Mafab offered $11,120,000 and was assigned slot two at no extra cost.
According to NCC spokesperson Ikechukwu Adinde, the two winners were given approval at $273 million.
Earlier at the event the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, said Nigeria hopes to have the most widespread use of 5G in Africa by 2022.
He said 5G technology can solve some of the security challenges in the country since the technology provides real-time services and platforms.
“Let us not forget that Nigeria has the largest digital economy in Africa, Nigeria has the largest telecommunications market in Africa, Nigeria has the largest internet subscribers in Africa, Nigeria has the largest broadband and we hope that by 2022, Nigeria will have the widest 5G coverage in Africa,” he said.
“It is because of this and looking at the general benefits of the 5G deployment globally, Nigeria as a country, being the giant of Africa, feels it is necessary for us to kickstart the process of 5G deployment.”