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5G: NCC ends bidding after Airtel emerged sole bidder of the 3.5Ghz spectrum auction

The Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC has confirmed it has ended bidding after Airtel became the only telecom to successfully bid for, and pay the Initial Bid Deposit, IBD for the auction of the 3.5Ghz spectrum.

Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC)

During the first 3.5GHz spectrum auction held in December 2021, Airtel participated but was not able to continue with the bidding process after reaching a certain bidding threshold.

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Airtel’s withdrawal created an opportunity for MTN and Mafab Communications and the NCC auctioned the initial two slots in the 3.5GHz spectrum to both companies.

MTN had since rolled out its 5G network in some states but Mafab is yet to roll out.

According to a statement released by the Director, Public Affairs of the NCC, Mr Reuben Muoka, two companies - Airtel Networks Limited (Airtel) and Standard Network & Connections Limited (Standard Network) had initially applied for the current bid and as of the deadline date, only Airtel had made available the IBD thus making them the sole bidder.

The NCC further reported that Standard Network reached out to appeal for an extension of the deadline by 12 working days, a request which was rejected in view of the auction timetable.

Part of the statement read: “Having met all the provisions in the IM, Airtel has, therefore, emerged as the sole Bidder.

“Consequently, 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.”

The NCC had fixed December 16th and 19th for the mock and actual auction of the 3.5GHz spectrum, but with Airtel becoming the sole bidder, the dates would automatically be cancelled.

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