The Nigerian government through the Nigerian Communications Communications (NCC) is presently in possession of $563.1 million from the payment of the 3.5 Gigahertz (GHz) spectrum licence by MTN Communications Nigeria Plc and Mafab Communications Limited, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta has confirmed.
MTN Communications Nigeria Plc and Mafab Communications Limited paid $273.6 million each for the 5G Spectrum license. MTN also paid an 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, making the total $563.1 million received by NCC.
“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,” Prof. Danbatta announced in a statement signed by the Director of Public Affairs at NCC, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde.
In the statement, Danbatta also congratulated MTN and Mafab for the payment, noting that the Commission looks 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.
“For meeting the payment deadline, we commend the two companies for their commitment to 5G deployment drive through their private investments, which is a demonstration of the licensees’ belief in the sound regulatory environment in the Nigerian telecommunications sector,” he added.
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 24, 2022.
The Commission had last year 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.
Subsequently, an Information Memorandum (IM) was issued on November 10, 2021, in which Bid Applications for the available spectrum lots were invited. By the deadline for receipt of applications on November 29, 2021, the Commission received applications from three licensed telecommunications companies, namely: Airtel Networks Limited, Mafab Communications Limited, and MTN Communications Nigeria Plc.
The Auction held successfully on Monday, December 13, 2021 at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja with the three bidders competing for the available two lots in which the Commission adopted the Ascending Clock Auction format that ended after Round 11, and proceeded to the Assignment Stage.
In the auction, MTN and Mafab emerged provisional licence winners and arising from this, the winning bid price for the auction was put at $273.6 million for each lot of 100 MHz TDD. The Provisional licence winners were then directed to pay the Winning Bid Price less the Intention-to-Bid Deposit, by February 24, 2022.