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Airtel Wins 5G Licence Auction in Nigeria

Airtel Nigeria, trading as Airtel Networks Limited, has made payment for the Intention to Bid Deposit (IBD) for the second 5G licence auction of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

The company, alongside Standard Network, expressed interest in the exercise, but the other bidder did not pay the required fee of $273.6 million on or before the December 5 deadline, as stipulated in the Information Memorandum (IM) guiding the auction process.

As a result, Airtel was announced as the winner of the offer and will join its rival, MTN Nigeria, to roll out 5G services to its subscribers in Nigeria.

MTN Nigeria and Mafab Communication had won the first 5G licence auction, with Airtel losing out because of the fee. However, only MTN has commenced operations, with the other yet to announce when it would roll out its services.

In October, Airtel Africa confirmed that it would partake in the plans of the NCC to auction additional two slots in the 3.5GHz spectrum auction to deepen the 5G network in Nigeria.

At the exercise, according to a statement issued by the Director of Public Affairs at NCC, Mr Reuben Muoka, Standard Network could not meet up with the IBD payment, a development that compelled the agency to announce Airtel as the sole bidder of the spectrum auction.

“The NCC hereby announces that by the close of business on Monday, December 5, 2022, only two companies expressed interest in the auction of the 3.5GHz Spectrum band, namely Airtel Networks Limited (Airtel) and Standard Network & Connections Limited (Standard Network).

“However, only Airtel paid 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.

“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 said in the statement.

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