The Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy and the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, are keen on deploying the fifth-generation broadband connectivity technology in Nigeria. The NCC took the lead to host a 3.5GHz Spectrum Auction, emerging the likes of MTN Nigeria and Mafab Communication Ltd as the winners of the bid sessions.Nigerian
Aside from MTN and Mafab that won the contest for 5G deployment, Airtel Nigeria was the third participant in the 3.5GHz spectrum auction — the Indian-owned telecom Giant backed off when bidding became expensive and complex during the final round. The NCC’s drafted Information Memorandum are requirements that accredit its participant to fill available lots on the 3.5GHz Spectrum Auction that kicked off in Nigeria’s state capital, Abuja.
The three bidders are reportedly telecom Giants in Nigeria and beyond Africa — auctioning for the lead position to deploy 5G broadband connectivity in Nigeria that turned out to be an intense event. The status quo of both Airtel, Mafab, and MTN is closely competitive whereby they participated in a mock auction three days prior to the main event.
As expected, the 3.5GHz Spectrum auction underwent rounds of bid pricing. The auction started with a $199,374,000.00 bid price. The bid price continued to add up and got to a hundred quarter million in the ninth round which is equivalent to $251, 210,172.65. The three bidders (MTN, Mafab, and Airtel) continued participating despite the increment of the bid price.
The eleventh round of the auction with a $275,904,886.25 bid price determined the champion of the contest. At this point, the contestants revealed an exit bid that ranges around the eleventh round bid price tag. Airtel lost the contest because the Telecom giant posted the least bid that amounts to $270M lesser than the official bid price. Although MTN posted a $274M bid in the eleventh round above Airtel’s bid.
MTN and Mafab emerged winners of the 3.5GHz spectrum auction contest, per Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta’s announcement — Danbatta is reportedly NCC’s executive vice-chairman and Auction Overseer. Before the auction event, NCC’s Danbatta revealed the possible outcome for winning the bidding contest — only two lots were reserved for winners to access the next level dubbed “Assignment Stage” approved for deploying the expected 5G broadband technology.
Danbatta also promised to award winners with advanced technology pairable with the 3.5GHz technology to bolster the widespread deployment of 5G broadband connectivity across Nigeria. NCC’s Information Memorandum has published a month ago, encouraging more participants with a tangible award for contesting duration auction that is expected to influence growth in the Nigerian digital economy — only three licensed contestants were qualified to bid during the 3.5GHz Spectrum Auction, including Airtel, Mafab and MTN, per NCC’s Information Memo.
The NCC chairman and board of commissioners Prof. Adeolu Akande, shared comments that revealed the auction was well organised, fair, and transparent. The commission also applied the Ascending Clock Auction format that was adopted to ascertain the winner in the last bid round. However, “MTN made an offer of $15,900,000 for the assignment of a preferred Lot, while Mafab made an offer of $11,120,000 for a preferred Lot.”
It is worth noting the completion of the Assignment Stage is expected to bolster the data network above the current broadband technology, minimum data latency, and higher bandwidth. The Nigerian 5G campaign will encourage other African countries to deploy the same 3.5GHz broadband connectivity technology to match the western world in terms of innovation and a healthy digital economy.