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5G: Spectrum Auction In Nigeria To Yield $394.8m  

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The Nigerian Government is to earn, at least, $394.8 million from the Fifth Generation (5G) spectrum auction. This came as the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) released the Information Memorandum (IM) for the auction, which is expected to take place before the end of this year.

The spectrum assignment process, NCC said, would comprise an auction to be held in Abuja. “It is planned that the auction will take place during the week commencing December 13, 2021,” the Commission further disclosed. The planned auction is in tandem with the 5G deployment timelines released by the Commission last year, where it stated that the spectrum for 5G would be auctioned in Q4’21.

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The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, had also recently declared that 5G would be deployed in Nigeria in January 2022. According to the IM for the spectrum auction, NCC will be offering two Lots of 100 MHz each in the 3.5 GHz band ranging from 3500 – 3600 MHz and 3700 to 3800 MHz for auction.

The Commission said the reserve price for one Lot of 100 MHz is valued at $197.4 million or its equivalent in naira at the prevailing Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) rates at the time of the auction. In addition to the reserved price of the spectrum, NCC said winners without existing service provisioning licence would also pay an additional fee of N374.6 million.

“To qualify to bid in the auction, the applicants will not have to be licenced network operators in Nigeria. However, any successful bidder, who does not have a Unified Access Service Licence (UASL), will be granted one upon payment of the specified fee. The tenure for the UASL will be 10 years, subject to renewal. “Where a winner does not hold a Unified Access Service Licence (UASL), which is the operational licence for the frequency spectrum slated for auction, it will be issued at an additional fee of N374.600 million or at the subsisting licence fee at the time of the auction,” NCC stated in the IM.

The Commission added that the spectrum lot won by each bidder would be assigned on a nationwide basis covering all the states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). It warned the prospective bidders that there is a subsisting policy on “use-it or lose-it” with respect to the use of assigned spectrum, which means that any bidder that wins the spectrum and fails to roll out services within the stipulated time would lose the spectrum.

Industry stakeholders have said that the successful and timely deployment of the technology is crucial to the country’s economy, as it is also in line with the strategy of the Federal Government of Nigeria for the acceleration of the national digital economy for a digital Nigeria, the positioning of Nigeria as an early adopter of digital technology and a major participant in the growing global digital economy.

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