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Nigeria plans new auction for remaining spectrum

MTN Nigeria.jpg

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has announced that it will auction two lots of 100MHz in the 3.5GHz spectrum band as it looks to accelerate 5G deployment in the country.

Two operators won last year’s 3.5GHz spectrum auction, MTN Nigeria and Mafab Communications.

Both acquired 100MHz of spectrum after paying US$273.6 million, which was significantly higher than the reserve price of US$199.3 million.

Airtel pulled out of the auction after its rivals’ bids passed US$270 million.

Applicants for this auction do not need to be licensed network operators in the country but will need to be licensed if they win spectrum at the auction.

They will need to submit an application by December 5 and that will be followed by a mock auction on December 16.

The new auction is aimed at increasing competition in the ultra-broadband segment which is currently dominated by MTN.

It will also increase broadband penetration in Nigeria, as the government aims to connect 70% of its population to broadband by 2025.

Currently, more than 35 million people lack access to telecommunications services in Nigeria despite growing investment in the sector, the NCC said earlier this year.

This situation is due in part to the “inadequacy of the wireless and fibre-optic connectivity infrastructure”, Umar Danbatta, executive vice chairman of the NCC said in a statement.