Nigeria awards licence in mid-band to roll out 5G

Nigerian telecoms regulator NCC announced on 7 December 2022 the results of the spectrum award in the 3.5 GHz band. Airtel, who was the only bidder, acquired one of the two 100 MHz lots offered and additionally 2×5 MHz in the 2600 MHz band for a total price of USD 316.7m.

Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, published the final version of the information memorandum on the planned spectrum award on 22 November 2022. NCC offered two 100 MHz lots, each for a reserve price of USD 273.6m. These were the two lots which remained unawarded from the previous auction from a year ago.

The previous auction in December 2021, saw two winners: MTN Nigeria and Mafab Communications. The remaining lots – 3400-3500 MHz and 3600-3700 MHz – were offered in the recent auction at the end of 2022.

Airtel who did not succeed in the previous auction took its chance a year later and turned out the only successful bidder. Although there was also a second bidder who submitted his application until the deadline on 5 December 2022 (Standard Network & Connections), they did not pay the bid deposit. This way, Airtel became the winner.

With the newly acquired spectrum Airtel can roll out 5G network. Of course, it will face competition by the other two – MTN and Mafab who gained the spectrum earlier. MTN already began with its 5G network roll out.

As an article pointed out, the number of internet users in Nigeria increased to 84 million in 2022. Still, this represents only 38% of the country’s population. So there is still a growth potential.

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