MTN, Mafab Pay NCC $547.2m for 5G Spectrum Licence
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has confirmed the payment of $547.2 million by the duo of MTN Communications Nigeria Plc and Mafab Communications Limited for a 5G spectrum licence.
Recently, the industry regulator auctioned the 3.5 Gigahertz (GHz) spectrum licence, which was won by MTN and Mafab, with Airtel Nigeria Limited bowing out. They were given some weeks to make payment for the licence.
In a statement issued on Friday, the Director of Public Affairs of the NCC, Mr Ikechukwu Adinde, it was disclosed that the two companies paid the full fee of $273.6 million each.
“I wish to officially announce that NCC has received and confirmed payments from MTN and Mafab for their acquisition of one 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,” the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Mr Umar Danbatta, was quoted as saying in the notice.
“Arising from this and on behalf of the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, the board and management of the NCC, I wish to congratulate the MTN and Mafab for this feat, as we look 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,” Mr Danbatta stated.
For meeting the payment deadline, he commended the two companies for their commitment to 5G deployment drive through their private investments, which he said, was a demonstration of the licensees’ belief in the sound regulatory environment in the Nigerian telecommunications sector.
The NCC boss also expressed appreciation to the federal government for its support and commitment to the deployment of 5G technology in Nigeria which, he said, will bring substantial network improvements, including higher connection speed, mobility and capacity, as well as low-latency capabilities to communications services in Nigeria.
Recall that as part of the auction process emplaced by the commission in the Information Memorandum (IM), MTN Nigeria, Mafab Communications Ltd and Airtel submitted bids with an initial bid deposit (IBD) of $19.74 million, representing 10 per cent of the Reserve Price of the 3.5GHz Spectrum by the close of the bid submission date of November 29, 2021.
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.
However, aside from the $273.6 million payment, MTN 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; while, Mafab Communications, which bided lower at the assignment stage, consequentially settled with Lot 2 (3700-3800Mhz) at no extra cost.