• Sunday, July 21, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

With 5G, MTN says Nigerians to expect cutting edge tech offers

With 5G, MTN says Nigerians to expect cutting edge tech offers

Nigeria’s dominant telco, MTN which secured a 5G spectrum licence this week, says the victory offers the opportunity to deliver technological advancements to as many Nigerians as possible.

“Our successful bid presents an opportunity to be at the forefront of delivering these technological advancements to as many Nigerians as possible,” said Karl Toriola, CEO of MTN’s Nigeria division.

“The benefits of 5G are multifaceted and they hold the key to unlocking new avenues for the nation’s growth and development. It is far more than high-speed internet or faster-streaming speeds; 5G has implications for improved service delivery across every sector,” Toriola said.

MTN shares rose 5.64% to end at $10.55 on Tuesday, hovering at their highest levels in more than six years and bringing gains so far in 2021 to 177.4% in a reflection of investor backing for the company’s strategy to exit some problematic markets and pay down debt.

MTN’s aggressive push for a 5G license in Nigeria signals its commitment to a market which is the group’s most lucrative and arguably its most problematic and should now open the way to turbocharge network speed for consumers and businesses in Africa’s most populous country.

At a bid price of $273.6m, the license cost the two winners $76.2m above the $197.4m reserve price set before the auction. MTN and a newly registered Nigerian-owned business, Mafab Communications Ltd, are expected to pay the bid price “less the intention to bid deposit”, by February 24.

Read also: What to know about 5G spectrum licence

It also comes a month after MTN won a payment service bank licence from the Nigerian central bank, a permit that will enable it to offer a wider range of financial services.

In South Africa, MTN’s home market, spectrum has been a contentious issue between the telecom regulator and mobile network operators, with high data costs having largely been blamed on a lack of competition and the “spectrum crunch”.

Fixing this issue has become a big part of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s economic recovery plan but its implementation has been delayed often.

Last week, the regulator, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa, took a major step forward in its plan to issue new radio frequency spectrum by March next year by issuing a new invitation to apply to industry players that wish to take part in the auction set to raise $500m.

MTN welcomed the publishing of a new invitation to apply and “is now studying the details of the document”. The last time South Africa released spectrum was in 2004/2005.