The emergence of Airtel Network Limited as the only bidder for the 3.5 GHz spectrum has caused the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to announce the cancellation of its intended 3.5 GHz auction of the process.
NCC made this information known to the public in a statement released on December 7th which was signed by its Director of Public Affairs, Reuben Mouka.
The statement explained that only two companies,Airtel and Standard Network & Connections Limited (Standard Network),had shown interest in taking part in the auction as at the close of business on March,December 5th.
NCC, however, said only Airtel was able to fulfil all required criteria and pay 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 provisions 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 19th, 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 as 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.
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.