In a keenly contested 3.5GHz Spectrum auction for the deployment of 5G technology in the country, MTN Nigeria and Mafab Communications Ltd emerged as the two successful winners.
The auction, which also involved Bharti Airtel, was conducted by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), paving the way for the wireless carriers to supply faster Internet to consumers and businesses.
Both MTN Nigeria and Mafab reached the 11th auction round where the bid price was set at US$275.9-million for each of the licences, above the $197.4-million reserve price.
Nigeria aims to deploy 5G over major urban areas of the country and become Africa’s biggest network for the spectrum by 2025. It is expected that this technology will go a long way in supporting the country’s security institutions who will leverage it for intelligence.
MTN Nigeria had, earlier in October, expressed concern that the reserve price for the 5G spectrum set by the regulator in the West African nation was too high. However, the acquisition now implies that the company is ready to deploy the technology to improve services to Nigerians while ensuring they are doing so to create value for the shareholders.
Interestingly, little known Mafab Communications Ltd. was registered in July last year to provide local interconnect and international carrier services, according to information on its website. How it successfully leap-frogged Airtel to the second available licence is something that will require a hard conviction to understand.