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NCC licenses MTN, Mafab Communications for 5G, gives August rollout date

By Guardian Nigeria
05 May 2022   |   4:05 am
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has issued final letters of award of the Fifth Generation (5G) spectrum licences to MTN and Mafab Communications as winners of the 3.5GHz spectrum auction conducted by the regulator on December 13, 2021.

Danbatta, NCC EVC

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has issued final letters of award of the Fifth Generation (5G) spectrum licences to MTN and Mafab Communications as winners of the 3.5GHz spectrum auction conducted by the regulator on December 13, 2021.

The management, led by the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, confirmed the development to the Board of Commissioners at a meeting, which held between April 20 and 21 this year, where the board considered updates on the spectrum auction.

In a statement, yesterday, by its Director of Public Affairs, Dr. Ike Adinde, the NCC said with the issuance in line with the 5G auction’s Information Memorandum (IM), the two licensees are to accelerate deployment of 5G network to Nigeria into a more robust Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) and a more digitised economy among the comity of nations.

Consequently, they are to roll out 5G services from August 24, 2022.

The 5G network is bringing loads of benefits and opportunities to engender accelerated growth and smart living in the country. The technology also promises to bring substantial network improvements, including higher connection speed, mobility and capacity besides low-latency capabilities.

Following the 3.5GHz auction, the National Frequency Management Council (NFMC), chaired by Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami, had on February 22 this year officially handed over the spectrum allocation for 5G deployment and the Federal Government-approved national policy on 5G to the NCC.

Subsequently, the commission, on February 24, confirmed full payment of $273.6 million each by the two spectrum winners in addition to assignment fee paid by MTN for the licence.

The telecommunications regulator said it is optimistic that effective implementation of the national policy would hasten actualisation of the targets in the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP) 2020-2025, National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) 2020-2030 and sectoral policies designed to enhance Nigeria’s digital transformation.

It sought support of the private sector and government at transforming every stratum of the economy through 5G.

Checks by The Guardian revealed that though Mafab had not shown readiness to deploy the service in the country, MTN, however, has stated willingness pronto.

Chief Executive Officer of MTN Nigeria, Karl Toriola, said: “We are ready. We won the licence through a transparent auction process. We congratulate NCC on this. We paid the full licence fee a month ahead of schedule. Within the information memorandum that the NCC issued, there was a timeline, which indicated that we can launch in the second half of the year.”