The Nigerian Communications Commission has announced MTN Nigeria and Mafab Communications as the winners of the two slots in the 3.5GHz spectrum auction for Fifth Generation (5G) network licenses (NCC).
According to Professor Umar Danbatta, executive vice-chairman of the NCC and auction overseer, the bids finished at $273 million for each.
This came after nearly eight hours and eleven rounds of bids, which began at $199.37 million, well over the $197.4 million reserve price.
The live auction, which took place at the Hilton Transcorp Hotel in Abuja, featured MTN Nigeria, Airtel Nigeria, and Mafab Nigeria Communications Ltd.
Mafab Nigeria Communications Ltd, a rebellious new entrant in Nigeria’s telecommunications market, was the surprise bidder at the 3.5GHz spectrum auction.
According to a Nigeria CommunicationsWeek report, Mafab Communications, directed by Alhaji Musibau Bashiru, was approved by the NCC as an International Data Access (IDA) in July 2020.
In the first six rounds, each auction lasted 20 minutes, and no buyers backed down as the price rapidly increased thanks to the ascending clock auction method.
The bidders were allowed 10 minutes to place their bids in the second five rounds.
The bid per slot was $275, 904,886.25 at the end of the 11 rounds, which finished at 7.20 p.m.
Prof. Isa Pantami, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, who opened the auction at 11 a.m., spoke ebulliently about the advantages of 5G.
Professor Adeolu Akande, chairman of the NCC board of directors, and Professor Umar Danbatta, executive vice-chairman of the NCC, both spoke to the audience about the importance of the spectrum auction.
Pantami traced the trip from 2019, when 5G technology was tested in Lagos, Abuja, and other Nigerian cities and deemed to be suitable and desirable for the country, until today.
Pantami also reminded the audience that the test was followed by an examination into accusations that the technology was dangerous to people’s health.
According to the findings of the inquiry, 5G technology poses no health risks.
Nigeria will have the largest 5G coverage in Africa by 2022, according to the Minister.
He also believes that 5G will be able to address some of the country’s security issues, as the technology provides real-time services and platforms.