Winners, losers, ATCON congratulates NCC on transparent 5G auction

Following the successful auction of two 100 MHz lots in the 3.5 GHz spectrum for the deployment of the Fifth Generation (5G) network in Nigeria, the winners, losers and stakeholders in the telecommunications industry have applauded the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for conducting a transparent auction. which raised 573.92 million dollars (237.29 billion naira).

The commission held an auction on Monday December 13, 2021 at the Transcorp Hilton hotel in Abuja which lasted for nine hours and culminated in the eleventh round with the emergence of MTN Nigeria Plc and Mafab Communications Limited as provisional winners. .

MTN, Airtel and Mafab Communications Limited had qualified for the auction, having met the requirements set out in the Information Memorandum (IM) for the spectrum auction. They had previously participated in a mock auction held on Friday, December 10, 2021, which served as a precursor to the main auction.

The 3.5 GHz spectrum auction was conducted by the NCC in cooperation with the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy using the ascending clock auction system. Preferred winners are expected to pay $ 273,600,000 each for a 100 MHz prize, in addition to $ 15.6 million and $ 11.120 million for assigned spectrum for MTN and Mafab respectively.

Airtel congratulates the NCC

Airtel, which posted a $ 270 million exit offer and withdrew in the 11th round, through its Airtel Africa Group Managing Director, Mr. Segun Ogunsanya, congratulated the Nigerian Commission on communications (NCC) for a 5G transparent auction completed on December 13, 2021..

Ogunsanya has confirmed that the firm’s Nigerian subsidiary has withdrawn from the auction after submitting its final bid of $ 270 million. According to the CEO of Airtel Africa, “The business case for 5G in all sub-Saharan markets is evolving and we remain committed to increasing broadband capacity in our various markets.

“We will continue to closely monitor the 5G ecosystem over the next several years, particularly the availability of affordable 5G devices and relevant use cases. Airtel Africa maintains sufficient capacity, spread across different frequency bands, in Nigeria and its other markets, to continue to meet the increasing data demands of our customers for many years to come, with several potential routes available to the business. to provide even greater capacity, profitable, in the long term ”.

MTN gives NCC a boost

MTN Nigeria also launched the NCC after successfully acquiring one of two 100 MHz spectrum licenses in the 3.5 GHz spectrum band auctioned by the commission, claiming that “this is about an important step towards achieving the goals of the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (2020-25). The spectrum acquisition will enable the deployment of 5G services to MTN Nigeria customers.

Fifth generation (5G) mobile network technology offers faster data speeds and lower latency. It allows multiple devices to be connected at the same time and creates vast possibilities for innovation and transformation. 5G will enable seamless communication and interconnectivity between smart devices, a process commonly referred to as the Internet of Things. It has the potential to accelerate the digital transformation of industries.

Commenting on the result, Karl Toriola, CEO of MTN Nigeria, said: “5G is the future of network technology and offers incredible possibilities for new and improved services for our customers. Our successful offering presents an opportunity to be at the forefront of delivering these technological advancements to as many Nigerians as possible.

“The advantages of 5G are multiple and they hold the key to opening new avenues for the growth and development of the country. It’s much more than high-speed Internet access or faster streaming speeds; 5G has implications for improving service delivery in all sectors. It has the potential to transform the economy of our country and make a difference in the daily life of every Nigerian. We thank the NCC for hosting a transparent auction that will transport us to the ‘tomorrow’ we desire, ”he said.

Toriola added: “The auction could not have come at a better time as we count the final hours until the close of the ongoing MTN Group bid for the sale of shares of MTN Nigeria. We encourage anyone who has not yet subscribed to the offer to visit and use one of the channels available to apply.

ATCON declares competitive offer and lists expectations

Meanwhile, the President of the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Engineer Ike Nnamani who led his team to observe the auction process, said: “The auction was a great success. and very transparent. It was conducted in a professional manner and I am glad it went well. I rate the whole process extremely high.

“It was very competitive until the end when one of the bidders submitted their exit bid and the remaining two bidders were declared winners. I’m sure other countries are copying the process adopted by the NCC due to the efficiency and transparency of the process.

Further elaborating on his expectations, he said: “As President of ATCON, I look forward to a rapid implementation of 5G services in Nigeria. I expect the winners to meet and even exceed the implementation targets stipulated in the briefing memorandum so that 5G can be spread nationwide within a few years.

“Next-generation telecommunications services that will improve the digital economy will be available to Nigerians once 5G is deployed in Nigeria. This will create jobs, lead to economic development and improve the quality of life of Nigerians, ”Nnamani added.

The betting rounds

Before the action began, the commission had set the reserve price at $ 197.4 million. In the first round of the auction, the bid price was set at $ 199,374,000.00; $ 201,367,740.00 in the second round; $ 204,388,356.10 in the third round; $ 209,407,962.50 in the fourth round and $ 215,782,901.30 in the fifth round.

Auction prices gradually increased to $ 224,414,217.43 in the sixth round; $ 231,146,643.96 in the seventh round; $ 240,392,509.71 in the eighth round; $ 251,210,172.65 in the ninth round; and $ 263,700,050.00 in the 10th round of the auction exercise. The auction process peaked in round 11 when the bid price rose to $ 275,904,886.25 with all three bidders still actively participating.

The main stage of the auction, however, ended at the end of the 11th round, with Airtel posting an exit bid of $ 270,000,000, while MTN issued an exit bid of $ 273,000,000, relinquishing the place at the allocation stage. At this point, Airtel had withdrawn from the race after posting a lower exit offer, leaving Mafab and MTN the winners of the two available lots.

The EVC declaration

Announcing the results of the auction exercise, NCC Executive Vice President and Auction Overseer Professor Umar Garba Danbatta recalled the processes and activities leading to the smooth running of the auction. He said the NCC issued a public notice of its decision to award two 100 megahertz (MHz) Time Division Duplex (TDD) lots available in the 3.5 GHz band through an auction process. to support the provision of ubiquitous broadband services for the 5G Network deployment in Nigeria.

“Subsequently, an information memorandum was published on November 10, 2021, in which applications for the available spectrum lots were invited. By the deadline for receipt of applications on November 29, 2021, the Commission received applications from three licensed telecommunications companies, namely: Airtel Networks Limited, Mafab Communications Limited and MTN Communications Nigeria Limited ”, he said.

“The auction was successful today, Monday, December 13, 2021 at the Transcorp Hilton hotel, Abuja, with the three bidders competing for the two available slots. The Commission adopted the ascending dial auction format which ended after the 11th round and proceeded to the award stage. I am pleased to announce that at the end of the auction, Mafab Communications Limited and MTN Communications Nigeria Limited have become the provisional license winners, ”he said.

As a result of the above, Danbatta stated that the winning bid price for the auction was $ 273,600,000 for each lot of 100 MHz TDD and that the provisional winners should pay the winning bid price, less submission of bidding intent, by February 24. 2022.

“MTN Communications Nigeria Plc has made an offer of $ 15,900,000 for the assignment of a Preferred Lot, while Mafab Communications Limited has made an offer of $ 11,120,000 for a Preferred Lot. From there MTN Communications Nigeria Plc, having made the highest bid, obtained the right to select their preferred lot and selected lot 1 (3500-3600 MHz), while lot 2 (3700-3800 MHz) is therefore assigned to Mafab Communications Limited. at no additional cost, ”said the EVC.

He expressed satisfaction that the auction process was efficient, fair, credible, well organized and transparent and that it was designed to achieve the ideal result, saying that the strongest bidders have become provisional winners, which made it possible to collect a substantial amount for the federal government.

He also thanked the federal government for its support and commitment to the deployment of 5G technology in Nigeria, which he said will bring substantial improvements to the network, including connection speed, mobility and capacity. higher as well as low latency capacities for communication services in Nigeria.

The EVC thanked all the stakeholders who contributed to the success of the auction process, saying that the huge investment that will result from the sales of the spectrum band being auctioned will lead to further transformation of life and business.

Earlier in his remarks, the Chairman of the Council of Commissioners of NCC, Professor Adeolu Akande thanked the bidders for believing in the Nigerian communications sector by their willingness to invest millions of dollars in the sector for the provision of 5G services, noting that NCC was committed to transparency and openness, which the auction represents.

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