MTN Nigeria Communications Plc, Airtel Networks Limited Nigeria, and Mafab Communications Limited have qualified to bid in the upcoming 3.5 gigahertz (Ghz) spectrum auction for the deployment of fifth generation (5G) networks in Nigeria.

To increase internet penetration in Nigeria, the commission has established a reserve price of N75 billion ($197.4 million) for two lots of 100MHz TDD in the 3.5GHz frequencies. The spectrum lot will cover all 36 states of the union, as well as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), on a “use it or lose it” basis.

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Following the commission’s release of the Final Information Memorandum (IM) for the 3.5GHz spectrum band auction, the two lots available in the 3500-3600 and 3700-3800 MHz frequency bands will be offered for communications service on a technology neutral basis.

The qualified bidders have met the criteria for participation in the 3.5GHz spectrum licensing process, including payment of the stipulated Intention to Bid Deposit (IBD) as outlined in the Information Memorandum, according to a statement by the Nigeria Communications Commission’s director of public affairs, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde (IM).

With this development, he added, the scene is now set for the three businesses to engage in the necessary mock auction process, which will take place on Friday, December 10, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja, and on Monday, December 13, 2021 at the same venue and time.

“Where a winner does not hold a Unified Access Service Licence (UASL), which is the operational licence for the frequency spectrum slated for auction, it will be issued at an additional fee of N374, 600,000.00 only or at the current license fee at the time of the auction,” according to the final IM document.

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The National Frequency Management Council (NFMC) and Nigerian Communication Satellite Limited (NigComSat) collaborated to secure the 3.4-3.9GHz C-band for the implementation of 5G services in Nigeria, he added.
“Due to its strong propagation properties, the C-band is widely acknowledged as the candidate of choice for 5G deployment,” he said, adding that it is therefore critical to license the 3.5GHz band in Nigeria for the implementation of 5G services.

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