MTN Nigeria, Nigeria’s largest telecommunications company, has successfully acquired one of the two 100MHZ spectrum licenses in the 3.5GHz spectrum brand auctioned by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
The telecom giant confirmed the development in a press statement signed by its secretary, Uto Ukpanah, and filed with the Nigerian Exchange.
Billionaires.Africa understands that the acquisition will enable MTN Nigeria to roll out 5G services to its customers. This is a significant step toward achieving the goals of the Nigerian National Broadband Plan for 2020-2025.
The national plan is designed to deliver data download speeds across Nigeria with effective coverage available to at least 90 percent of the population by 2025 at a price of no more than N390 ($0.95) per 1GB of data.
The development comes hours after the telecommunications giant closed its first public offering of 575 million shares, previously held by its parent company, MTN Group.
Led by Karl Toriola, MTN Nigeria became the first telecommunications company in West Africa to initiate 5G network trials in 2019 after it ran spectrum tests at its offices in several locations. With the support of mobile operators like ZTE, Huawei and Ericsson, the demo proved successful.
Although the cost of the acquisition was not given, reports suggest that the reserve price for the spectrum license was set at N75 billion ($197.4 million), with a validity period of 10 years.
During the auction of the 3.5-GHz spectrum license, interested firms were required to submit an initial bid deposit equivalent to 10 percent of the reserve price.
These requirements were stiffly opposed by two of the largest telecommunications companies in Nigeria, MTN Nigeria and Airtel. The companies called for a reduction in the reserve price to $50 million and an extension of the validity period by an additional 10 years.
As of press time, it is uncertain if the NCC met the companies’ demands.
Commenting on the successful bid, MTN Nigeria CEO Toriola said: ‘’5G is the future of network technology and offers incredible possibilities for new and enhanced services for our customers. Our successful bid presents an opportunity to be at the forefront of delivering these technological advancements to as many Nigerians as possible.”
Billionaires.Africa earlier reported that MTN Nigeria had renewed its operating license for another 10 years.