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NCC may issue second 5G spectrum licence to Airtel as Standard Network drops out

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Airtel Africa emerged as the sole bidder for a 5G high-speed spectrum licence in Nigeria’s second round of licensing after another company failed to pay a deposit to continue with the auction, the regulator has said.

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) issued the country’s first 5G licences to MTN Nigeria and Mafab Communications last year in December after the companies each paid $273.6 million.

At the close of the deadline for the submission of bids, “only two companies expressed interest in the auction of the 3.5GHz Spectrum band namely;

  1. Airtel Networks Limited (Airtel) and
  2. Standard Network & Connections Limited (Standard Network).

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NCC said Standard Network & Connections Limited failed to pay the required “intention to bid deposit,” leaving Airtel the only bidder.

“However, 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.

“Having met all the provisions in the IM, Airtel has therefore emerged as the sole Bidder.

“Consequently, 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,” a statement by the industry regulator stated.

The regulator has set a reserve price of $273.6 million for the new 5G spectrum licence with a tenure of 10 years.

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