Nigeria’s 5G auction scheduled for this month has been canceled after Airtel Nigeria emerged sole bidder, the telecoms umpire announced today in a twist that will favour the number three mobile operator’s quest for the prized 3.5GHz spectrum.
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) had earlier offered two lots of 3.5GHz spectrum at $273.6 million that was planned to be sold to winners for 5G deployment in the country through competitive bids planned to hold December 19 in Abuja.
In an unexpected twist, only two companies, Airtel Networks Limited (Airtel) and Standard Network & Connections Limited (Standard Network), expressed interest in the auction of the 3.5GHz spectrum band, by the close of business on Monday, December 5, 2022, NCC says.
“However,” Mr. Reuben Mouka, NCC Public Affairs Director says, “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.”
According to the telecoms regulator, Airtel Nigeria, “has therefore emerged as the sole bidder” having met all the provisions of the IM, NCC says.
“Consequently,” according to Muoka, “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.”