The telecoms regulator says MTN Nigeria Plc and Mafab Communications Limited, winners of the 3.5GHz spectrum auctions, are to begin Nigeria’s 5G deployment in August this year.
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) says it issued final letters of award of 5G spectrum licences to the duo, MTN and Mafab Communications, who emerged winners of the 3.5GHz spectrum auction conducted by the telecoms regulator on Monday, December 13, 2021.
Dr Ikechukwu Adinde, NCC Public Affairs Director, confirmed this, saying the telecoms regulator has issued the formal award letters to the two winners.
NCC: What To Expect From Nigeria 5G Deployment
Management of the NCC, Adinde says, led by Professor Umar Garba Danbatta, NCC Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) confirmed this to the Board of Commissioners at the Board’s Special Meeting held Wednesday, April 20 and Thursday, April 21, 2022, “where the Board considered updates from management on the status of the spectrum auction.”
Under the auction rules, the NCC Public Affairs MTN and Mafab and in line with the terms and conditions of the 5G license, “the licensees are expected to commence roll out 5G services effective from August 24, 2022.”
Adinde says that “with the issuance of the final letters of awards of 5G spectrum and in line with the Auction’s Information Memorandum (IM), the two licensees are now expected to accelerate deployment of 5G network that will usher Nigeria into a more robust Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) and a more digitised Nigerian economy.”
When the 5G network is deployed in Nigeria, the service “will bring a lot of benefits and opportunities that will engender accelerated growth and smart living in the country. The technology is also expected to bring substantial network improvements, including higher connection speed, mobility and capacity, as well as low-latency capabilities.”
NCC says that “following a transparent, diligent, fair and credible auction of 3.5GHz on December 13, 2021, the National Frequency Management Council (NFMC), chaired by the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, had on February 22, 2022, officially handed over the spectrum allocation for 5G deployment as well as Federal Government-approved National Policy on 5G to the Commission.”
Subsequently, Adinde says, the Commission, on February 24, 2022, confirmed the full payment of $273.6 million each by the two spectrum winners, in addition to the spectrum assignment fee paid by MTN, for the 5G spectrum licence.
“The Commission is optimistic that effective implementation of the National Policy on 5G will accelerate the actualisation of the national targets in the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP) 2020-2025, the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) 2020-2030, as well as other sectoral policies designed to enhance Nigeria’s digital transformation”, the NCC Public Affairs Director says.
“While the licensees are expected to meet the timetable regarding their 5G network rollout obligations,” Adinde says, “the NCC requires collective efforts and support of the private sector and government toward transforming every aspect of the nation’s economy through 5G, which will herald greater transformation than what the nation witnessed with the 1G, 2G, 3G and 4G.”