The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has confirmed Airtel Nigeria as the only telecom operator ready to bid for the 3.5GHz spectrum licence for 5G deployment.
This comes after the telco became the first to pay the $27.36 million intention to bid deposit ahead of the auction slated for December 19.
A statement by the NCC, seen by Nairametrics, also noted that only two telecom companies expressed interest in the auction as of the stipulated deadline which was Monday, December 5, 2022. The telcos are Airtel and Standard Network & Connections Limited.
Note that the $27.36 million deposit is 10% of the reserve price for the spectrum fixed at $273.6 million.
Plea for extension: The statement by the NCC further disclosed that Standard Network had pleaded for an extension of the deadline for paying the deposit. However, the regulator turned it down.
“Only Airtel paid the Intention to Bid Deposit (IBD) as stipulated in the Information Memorandum (IM) whereas, Standard Network sent an email appeal for the deadline to be extended by twelve (12) working days which was not acceptable given the auction timetable,” the NCC said.
No more auction: Given the emergence of Airtel as the sole bidder, NCC said it won’t continue with the auction. Instead, it will assign one lot of the spectrum to Airtel.
The implication of this is that Airtel will pay the reserve price of $273.6 million, the same amount paid by MTN and Mafab Communications in December last year.
“Having met all the provisions in the IM, 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,” the Commission stated.