5G spectrum: NCC fixes $273.6m asking price



By Ismail Auwal

The Nigerian Communications Commission has fixed the reserve price for its new 5G spectrums at $273.60m. 

The Commission on Friday revealed plans to issue two more 5G licences after announcing the auction for its remaining spectrum band.

It said, “The reserve price is the minimum price for one Lot of 100MHz TDD for a 10-year licence tenure fixed at $273.60m or its equivalent in Naira at the prevailing Central Bank of Nigeria rates at the time of the auction.”

The NCC in an “Information Memorandum on 3.5 GHz Spectrum Auction” said that in order to promote the nationwide deployment of 5G, it is providing the last 2 x 100MHz lots in the 3.5GHz frequency range.

It stated, “The Commission is offering the remaining 2 Lots of 100 MHz TDD Spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band ranging from 3400 – 3500 MHz and 3600 – 3700 MHz, totalling 200 MHz for auction. This will be awarded to winning bidders in the 100 MHz Lot.”

Since the NCC awarded its 5G spectrum, MTN has launched a 5G network in selected locations while Mafab is yet to establish.

In its new IM, the NCC said it will hold a public consultation regarding the draft IM soon. It revealed, “The commission will hold a public consultation in respect of the draft IM on November 15, 2022.

“This is in line with the Commission’s participatory rule-making process for the communications sector, to give stakeholders and interested parties an opportunity to review and comment on the draft IM before the final document is published.”

According to the NCC, a Unified Access Service Licence will be required if a bid is accepted, however, applicants for the spectrum do not need to be recognised network operators in the country.

This happens after the NCC held an auction and gave MTN Communications Nigeria Plc and Mafab Communications Limited two 100Mhz slots of the aforementioned spectrum in December 2021. The commission has made known that more spectrum bands were being cleared before the December auction.

For their 5G spectrum licences, the two telcos each paid $273.6 million. The reserve price was $197.4 million at the time. Industry experts at the time fought against the reserve pricing. They believed it to be outside the realm of market reality.

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