MTN Communications Nigeria Plc and Mafab Communications Limited, provisional winners in Nigeria’s 3.5GHz 5G spectrum licence sales, have made their full payment of $273.6 million each for their licenses to the Nigerian Communications Commission.
As part of the auction process put in place by the Commission, three companies – MTN Nigeria, Mafab Communications Ltd, and Airtel Networks Ltd – submitted bids with an initial bid deposit of $19.74 million, representing 10 percent of the reserve price of the 3.5GHz spectrum by the close of the bid submission date of 29 November 2021.
The balance of the bid amount of $253.86 million to be paid on or before 24 February 2022 has now been delivered by the winners as well as an additional $15.9 million from MTN for its preferred Lot 1 (3500-3600MHz) in the 3.5GHz spectrum. Mafab Communications won Lot 2 (3700-3800MHz) at no extra cost.
Meanwhile Cote d'Ivoire has said it will put 5G into service in 2023, according to an announcement last week from Kanvoli Kacou Bi Djè, the director of legal affairs and international cooperation at the Ministry of Digital Economy, Telecommunications and Innovation.
In December 2021, mobile operator MTN began testing 5G in Cote d'Ivoire, plans for which we reported at the time. According to local press reports the company has initiated discussions with the telecommunications ministry and regulator ARTCI to define the spectrum to be allocated to 5G.
The 5G go-live date coincides with the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, the football tournament that is to be held in Cote d'Ivoire from 23 June – 23 July.