MTN Nigeria and Mafab Communications have been declared winners of the two slots of the 3.5GHz spectrum auction for the Fifth Generation (5G) network licenses by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
The bids ended at $273 million for each, according to Professor Umar Danbatta, executive vice chairman, NCC and overseer of the auction.
This came after nearly eight hours and 11 rounds of auctions which began at $199.37 million as against the reserve price of $197.4 million.
MTN Nigeria, Airtel Nigeria and Mafab Nigeria Communications Ltd participated in the live auction held at Hilton Transcorp Hotel, Abuja.
The surprise bidder for the 3.5GHz spectrum auction was Mafab Nigeria Communications Ltd, a recalcitrant new entrant in the telecommunications sector in Nigeria.
Mafab Communications, led by Alhaji Musibau Bashiru, was licensed in July 2020, as an International Data Access (IDA) by the NCC, according to Nigeria CommunicationsWeek report.
Each auction in the first six rounds lasted 20 minutes and non of the bidders backed down as the price steadily moved up using the ascending clock auction format.
In the second five rounds, the bidders were given 10 minutes each to put up their bids.
At the end of the 11 rounds which ended at 7.20 pm, the bid per slot was $275, 904,886.25.
Prof. Isa Pantami, minister of Communications and Digital Economy, who flagged off the auction at around 11.00 am waxed optimistically about the benefits 5G.
Also, Professor Adeolu Akande, chairman, board of NCC, and Professor Umar Danbatta, executive vice chairman of the NCC addressed the participants and observers on the imperative of the spectrum auction.
In his address, Pantami traced the journey from 2019 when the 5G technology was tested in Lagos, Abuja and some other cities in Nigeria and found to be suitable and desirable for the country.
Pantami also reminded the audience that the test was also followed by an investigation on claims the technology had health dangers.
He said the result of the investigation showed 5G technology had no health hazards.
The Minister expressed optimism that by 2022 Nigeria will have the largest 5G coverage in Africa.
He is also of the opinion that 5G, could solve, among others, some of the security challenges in the country, since the technology provides real-time services and platforms.
Source: Nig. CommsWeek