The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has cancelled the planned 3.5 GHz spectrum auction following the emergence of Airtel Networks Limited as the sole bidder for the process.
NCC, in a statement last night, signed by its Director of Public Affairs, Reuben Mouka, stated that by the close of business on Monday, December 5, only two companies, Airtel and Standard Network & Connections Limited (Standard Network) expressed interest in the auction of the 3.5GHz Spectrum band.
NCC, however, said only Airtel paid the Intention to Bid Deposit (IBD) as stipulated in the Information Memorandum (IM) whereas, Standard Network sent an email appeal for the deadline to be extended by 12 working days, which was not acceptable in view of the auction timetable.
The Commission stated that Airtel having met all the provision in the IM, has, therefore, emerged as the sole bidder. “There shall be no further bidding and the Commission will proceed to the Assignment Stage in line with the published Information Memorandum guiding the licensing process.”
NCC was supposed to hold the 3.5GHz spectrum auction on December 19, in Abuja, following the release of the final collation of IM.
The NCC offered the remaining two Lots of 100 MHz TDD Spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band ranging from 3400 – 3500 MHz and 3600 – 3700 MHz, totaling 200 MHz for auction. The winner will receive 100MHz Lot.
With Airtel emerging sole bidder, NCC would receive $273,600,000 or its equivalent in naira at the prevailing CBN rates.
The 3.5GHz spectrum has a 10-year licence tenure renewable after the first expiry.
Recall that last December, MTN Nigeria and Mafab Communication won the first 3.5GHz spectrum to deploy fifth generation (5G) technology in Nigeria. MTN in August became the first mobile network operator in West Africa to roll out 5G technology.