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Business News of Tuesday, 23 August 2022


5G: MTN Nigeria rolls out Wednesday

File photo to illustrate the story File photo to illustrate the story

The coast is clear for MTN Nigeria, one of the two winners of the fifth generation (5G) technology licence, to roll out telecoms services tomorrow in line with the timeline put in place by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

The second winner, Mafab Communications Limited, has, however, been granted a five-month extension to roll out over delays in obtaining its unified operational licence (USAL) and Numbering Plan from the Commission. It only secured the two vital documents last month.

MTN Nigeria and Mafab Communication Limited had won the two slots put on offer during the auction that had $197.4million as reserve price. MTN and Mafab had paid the balance of the bid price of $253.86 million before February 24, this year. While MTN beat the deadline, Mafab paid at the expiration of the deadline.

“We are ready. We won the licence through a transparent auction process and we congratulate the NCC on this. We paid the full licence fee a month ahead of schedule. Within the information memorandum of the NCC issued, there was a timeline which indicated that we can launch in H2. We are prepared to launch on the day the IM allows us to do so and we will explore with the NCC if they allow…So, we are ready, even before that timeline,” Chief Executive Officer, MTN Nigeria, Mr. Karl Toriola, had said in Lagos in May.

Chairman of Mafab Communications Limited, Dr. Mushabu Bashir, said in a press statement that the company remained resolutely committed to the deployment of the technology in the country.

“We are fully committed to bringing the benefits of 5G services to Nigerians and deploying a network that will drive economic development with increased broadband capabilities nationwide. I have no doubt that the service will help deliver improvements in the fields of education, business, smart cities and entertainment.

“The goal remains to launch before the five-month extension period and we will be sharing more information in the near future,” he said.

The 5G will offer Nigerians higher data speed, improved reliability and availability. The benefits are far reaching as the service will enable Nigerians to achieve more with broadband and increase the nation’s broadband penetration, quality of service and capabilities, he added.

Mafab Communications Limited is a telecommunication company incorporated on July 8, 2020, and licensed by the NCC to provide and operate Local Interconnect and International carrier services.

According to the roll-out timetable prepared by the Commission, the operators are expected to complete band clearance and commence operation while by June 2023, they are expected to roll-out in at least two states in each of the six geopolitical zones of the country.

By June 2024, they were expected to roll-out service in at least six states in each of the geo-political zones of the country while by June the following year, MTN and Mafab are expected to have completed the roll-out of services in all the geopolitical zones of the country.

As part of the auction process put in place by the Commission in the information memorandum (IM), the two winners and Airtel Networks Ltd had submitted bids with an initial bid deposit (IBD) of $19.74 million, representing 10 per cent of the Reserve Price of the 3.5GHz spectrum by the close of the bid submission date of November 29 last year

The NCC had issued the final letters of awards of 5G spectrum and in line with the 5G auction’s Information Memorandum (IM), the two licensees are now expected to accelerate deployment of 5G network that will usher Nigeria into a more robust Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) and a more digitised Nigerian economy among the comity of nations.