NCC sets December for 5G spectrum auction

The Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) says the auction for 3.5 Gigahertz (3.5 GHz) spectrum for the deployment of Fifth Generation (5G) technology will take place on December 13 2021.

It will be preceded by a mock auction to take place on the 10th of December.

The commission quoting from the Information Memorandum at the stakeholder engagement forum said that only licensees who make down payment of 10 percent of the reserved bid price with 100 percent regulatory compliance would be allowed to participate in the auction. Licensees with outstanding debts will require NCC’s approval for a payment plan to be allowed to take part in the auction.

Part of the conditions for licensees is a minimum requirement of an operational Universal Access Service Licence (UASL) with new licensees to obtain their UASL to be able to participate in the auction.

According to the Information Memorandum, the auction will be software-based, adopting an Ascending Clock auction format with the eventual licensees to rollout obligations that will span 10 years beginning from the date the award is licensed.

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Furthermore, the awarded licensees are expected to roll out services in each of the geo-political zones between the first and second year of the license, all zones in its third to the fifth year, and cover all states in the country in its sixth to the tenth year.

Isa Pantami, the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy stated at the forum that the ministry has been working closely with the commission to ensure that necessary spectrum resources needed for the deployment of the 5G network are made available to accelerate the nation’s digital economy space.

The Minister represented by Abubakar Ladan spoke on the popularity of the 3.5GHz spectrum band and its global usage by operators to deploy 5G technology.

Umar Danbatta, Vice Chairman of the NCC listed steps the commission has taken for the 5G deployment to reach its present climax with data to justify how profitable 5G deployment would mean for the country and its potential investors.

He further stated that 5G will leverage the success of 4G technology and will bring substantial network improvements.

The Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators (ALTON) urged the government to make the operating environment more conducive for the existing and prospective licensees to enable Nigeria to fully harness and harvest the derivable benefits of mobile technology in the country.

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