The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has announced that Airtel Nigeria emerged as the sole bidder in the upcoming 5G auction and therefore will proceed to the ‘assignment stage’ in line with the published Information Memorandum guiding the licensing process. According to the regulator, by the close of business on 5 December only two companies had expressed interest in participating in 3.5GHz spectrum auction, namely Airtel and Standard Network & Connections Limited (Standard Network). However, only Airtel paid the Intention to Bid Deposit (IBD), while Standard Network requested the deadline be extended by twelve working days, which the NCC ruled was not acceptable in view of the auction timetable. Consequently, there shall be no further bidding and the NCC will proceed to the assignment stage to allocate the spectrum to Airtel.
The NCC had planned to auction off the remaining two lots of 100MHz TDD spectrum in the 3.5GHz band on 19 December, ranging from 3400MHz-3500MHz and 3600MHz-3700MHz. Each lot had a reserve price of USD273.6 million, with the nationwide spectrum licences valid for ten years. Winning bidders are required to launch commercial 5G services within twelve months of the effective date of the licence, and coverage should reach at least two states in each of the country’s six geo-political zones within two years.