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Bidders shun NCC’s 5G auction as only Airtel  bids

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said that Airtel Network Limited has emerged as a sole bidder for its 3.5GHz spectrum band for 5G deployment.

In a statement Wednesday, the NCC said there would be no auction as Airtel would be assigned one of the available lots of 100 MHz TDD Spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band at the NCC’s reserve price of $273.60million.

NCC stated that by the close of business on Monday, December 5, 2022, only two companies had expressed interest in the auction of its 3.5GHz spectrum band, but only one paid its required intention to bid deposit.

The companies were Airtel, and Standard Network and Connections Limited (Standard Network).

The Commission said: “However, only Airtel paid the Intention to Bid Deposit as stipulated in the Information Memorandum whereas, Standard Network sent an email appeal for the deadline to be extended by 12 working days which was not acceptable in view of the auction timetable.

“Having met all the provision in the Information Memorandum, 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.”

At its latest stakeholders’ engagement on ‘The Draft Information Memorandum’ in November 2022, Huawei had said, “High reserve price may result in the risk of spectrum being unsold.”

In October, the NCC released its Information Memorandum on 3.5 GHz Spectrum Auction where it revealed plans to issue two more 5G licences during an auction slated for later in the year.

It had set the reserve price for its new 5G spectrums at $273.60million, hoping to sell it for a price higher.

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