SMEs, Others Will Leverage 5G Technology For Growth, Says NCC

5G Deployment Facing Challenges Despite Potential Benefits To Nigerians, Says NCC

Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), especially fintech and e-commerce firms, will ride on 5G technology once deployed for growth, says the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta.

Speaking at a Telecoms Leadership Summit held in Lagos, Danbatta expressed confidence that the SMEs would immensely benefit from the 5G technology as they are all currently expanding the digital ecosystem in Nigeria.

“Digital services and contents being provided by SMEs, especially fintech and e-commerce firms, will leverage broadband infrastructure and the upcoming deployment of Fifth Generation (5G) network being driven by the Commission to deliver more innovative and high-quality experiences to consumers.

“The Commission’s successful auction and licensing of the 3.5GHz spectrum licenses in the last quarter of 2021 for the deployment of 5G technology is set to create many opportunities for the development of the industry, and as a regulator, we are conversant with the fact that a dynamic regulatory environment is needed to sustain this industry growth,” Danbatta added.

How MTN and Mafab won the bid for the first 5G experience

The Commission published a Public Notice on its decision to award two lots of 100MHz Time Division Duplex (TDD) available in the 3.5 GHz band through an auction process, to support the delivery of ubiquitous broadband services for the deployment of 5G technology in Nigeria.

Subsequently, an Information Memorandum (IM) was issued on November 10, 2021, in which Bid Applications for the available spectrum lots were invited. By the deadline for receiving applications on November 29, 2021, the Commission received applications from three licensed telecommunications companies: Airtel Networks Limited, Mafab Communications Limited, and MTN Communications Nigeria Plc.

The Auction was held successfully on Monday, December 13, 2021, at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja with the three bidders competing for the available two lots in which the Commission adopted the Ascending Clock Auction format that ended after Round 11, and proceeded to the Assignment Stage.

In the auction, MTN and Mafab emerged provisional licence winners, and arising from this, the winning bid price for the auction was put at $273.6 million for each lot of 100 MHz TDD. The Provisional licence winners were then directed to pay the Winning Bid Price less the Intention-to-Bid Deposit, by February 24, 2022.

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