By John Ikani
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has announced the approval of MTN Nigeria Communications Plc, Airtel Networks Ltd and Mafab Communications Ltd., as bidders of the forthcoming 3.5 gigahertz (Ghz) spectrum auction.
In a statement issued by the Director of Public Affairs of NCC, Dr Ikechukwu Adinde, on Thursday, the Commission said the qualified bidders have also met the Intention to Bid Deposit as outlined in the Information Memorandum.
“Consequently, the stage is now set for the three companies to participate in the Main Auction as well as in the mandatory Mock Auction process, which will come as a precursor to the Main Auction,” the statement read in part.
The Commission has also reaffirmed the dates for the conduct of both the mock auction and the main auction. The mock auction is scheduled to hold on Friday, December 10, 2021 at Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja by 11:00 a.m., while the main auction will hold on Monday, December 13, 2021 at the same venue and at the same time.
Interested operators are expected to pay 10% of the reserved price of $197.4 million to qualify to participate in the auction.
The commission plans to conduct the 5G spectrum auction with a reserve price starting at $197,400,000 for two lots of 100 MHz on offer in the first phase of the auction in the 3.5GHz band, while an Initial Bid Deposit equal to 10 percent of the reserve price will be adopted in line with the previous auction.
Recall that earlier in September, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved the Fifth Generation Network, otherwise known as 5G for the nation.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, revealed that the Council in approving the 5G, took cognisance of the report of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) that pronounced it safe to human health.
More than three out of every five Nigerians are aged 35 years and below, and substantially digitally enabled, making the prospect of massive acceptance of IT services driven by 5G promising for its estimated 216 million people.