Technology

NCC confirms Airtel’s 5G licence bid after $27m deposit

The logo of telecommunications company Airtel is pictured on a street in Abuja, Nigeria July 9, 2019. REUTERS-Afolabi Sotunde-File Photo

Airtel is the sole bidder for Nigeria’s 5G licence, as confirmed by the Nigerian Communications Commission.

The telecom firm has now paid its intention-to-bid deposit (IBD) of $27.36 million (10% of the reserve price of $273.6 billion).

Lot ‘A’ (3400-3500MHz) and ‘C’ (3600-3700MHz) are the last two lots scheduled for sale in 2022.

The commission announced on Wednesday that only two businesses had submitted bids for the 3.5GHz spectrum band auction before the deadline of Monday, December 5, 2022, to pay IBD.

Airtel Networks Limited (Airtel) and Standard Network & Connections Limited (Standard Network) were the names of the companies.

According to NCC, Standard Network had asked for a delay but was denied.

Therefore, it stated that the bidding process for Airel would be closed, and the assignment process would begin.

To settle such disagreements, the assignment phase includes an auction in which the successful bidder (or bidders) choose when the initial charge is due.

“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 twelve (12) working days which was not acceptable in view of the auction timetable,” the statement reads.

“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 licencing process.”

Meanwhile, the IM states that any winner who declines participation in the assignment round will be offered the remaining lot.

There is no maximum number of rounds for the assignment phase, but each round’s selections must total at least $11,120,000.

The 5G spectrum auction held last year was won by MTN and Mafab Communications, while Airtel withdrew from the bidding process.

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