MTN Nigeria Plc and Mafab Communications Ltd have both emerged as the winners of the 3.5 gigahertz (GHz) spectrum auction for the distribution of 5G (Fifth Generation) technology. The bidding saw eleven rounds which lasted for eight hours; all this to facilitate the delivery of ubiquitous broadband services in Nigeria to support 5G network deployment.
The 3.5GHz spectrum auction was conducted by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy. The event was held on Monday, December 13 and took place at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja.
MTN and Mafab were not the only contestants as Airtel had also qualified for the spectrum auction. The three companies had priorly contested in a mock auction on Friday, December 10. The mock auction served as an antecedent to the main event.
The auction bid is said to have been “intensely competitive” with the adoption of the Ascending Clock Auction System put in place by the Commission.
At the first round of the auction, the bid price was fixed at $199,374,000.00; $201,367,740.00 at second round; $204,388,356.10 at third round; $209,407,962.50 at fourth round and $215,782,901.30 at the fifth round.
The auction prices peaked at the eleventh and final round when the bid price reached $275,904,886.25. The eleventh round was concluded with Airtel listing an exit bid of $270,000,000, while MTN posted an exit bid of $273,000,000, leading to the Assignment Stage. By this time, Airtel had dropped out of the race having posted a lower exit bid, thereby leaving Mafab and MTN as winners of the two available lots.
The results of the exercise was announced by the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC who doubled as Auction Overseer, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta. Speaking on the spectrum auction, he said, “The auction held successfully today, Monday December 13, 2021 at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja with the three bidders competing for the available two slots. The Commission adopted the Ascending Clock Auction format which ended after Round 11 and proceeded to the Assignment Stage. It is my pleasure to announce that at the end of the auction, Mafab Communications Limited and MTN Communications Nigeria Limited emerged as provisional licence winners.”
Danbatta noted that the winning bid price for the auction is $273,600,000 for each lot of 100 MHz TDD. The winners, Mafab Communications and MTN Nigeria, are expected to pay the Winning Bid price, less the Intention-to-Bid Deposit, by February 24, 2022.