The main auction of the 3.5 GHz spectrum band for the deployment of 5G network in the country is set to occur today at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja.
This event is coming after a software based mock auction was organized by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) on Friday at the same venue.
In order to ensure a fail-proof process, the Commission also carried out a simulation of the manual process of the auction, aside the electronic mock. This is to ensure that bidders are also familiar with the manual auction in case of any circumstances that may warrant a need to switch to the manual auction.
Ahead of the auction, Vice- chairman of the NCC, Prof Umar Garba Danbatta said the Commission had taken all necessary steps to ensure due diligence on the credibility of the consultants and to safeguard the integrity of the software solution being used to carry out the implementation of this historic national assignment.
“This is consistent with the open, credible transparent and fair manner by which the Commission is known to have conducted previous auction processes, which have been locally and globally applauded,”
The conduct of the simulation exercise was in line with the requirements stipulated by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in the Information Memorandum (IM) for 3.5 GHz spectrum auction.
The three bidders, MTN Nigeria, AIRTEL Networks Ltd and MAFAB Communications Ltd are in a race to secure two available slots.
It is interesting to note that MAFAB Communications Ltd that was incorporated just a year ago is in participating in the auction while 9mobile and indigenous telecomms company Globacom are missing from the list.
Their absence from the auction could be due to the fact that they could not make the 10% down payment of the reserved price as stipulated by the Information Memorandum.
The IM is a document that defines the process for the licensing of the 3.5 GHz spectrum band. According to the Information Memorandum (IM) presented the reserved price for the spectrum has been pegged at $197.4 million (N75 billion).
The auction is in line with the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Professor Umar Danbatta’s announcement that the commission is almost fully ready to deploy 5G network in the country in the coming year. The announcement of the auction date means all is set for rollout planned for 2022.
The Commission had commenced the process for the auction of the 5G spectrum in the last quarter of the 2021.
On November 3, 2021, the Commission held a stakeholders’ engagement forum in Lagos at which comments received from a broad segment of stakeholders, including the major operators, were exhaustively discussed and considered.
The auction today will mark a turning point in Nigeria’s determination to harness the benefits of 5G for the nation’s socio-economic growth, as concrete roll-out of 5G commences in 2022.
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