After a year and a half of preparation, Nigeria is on the verge of joining the list of African countries where 5G is operational. The Ministry of Communications and the Digital Economy and the telecoms regulator have worked hard to materialize this qualitative leap.
The Communications Commission of Nigeria (NCC) announced on Saturday, November 6, the auction of telecom frequency spectrum for 5G technology on December 13. This is the spectrum in the 3.5GHz band. The reserve price has been set at $ 197.4 million.
Companies holding a telecoms license will be authorized to take part in the sale and have paid a deposit representing 10% of the reserve price in advance, in accordance with national regulations. Those in a situation of irregularity will only be able to participate with the approval of the NCC conditional on a compliance plan.
Abubakar Ladan, the secretary of the National Council of Frequency Management (NFMC), justified the choice of the 3.5 GHz band for 5G in view of its availability in the country for immediate use by telecom operators and its choice by regulators and telecom operators around the world.
He spoke at the Telecom Industry Stakeholder Engagement Forum, held on November 4 to discuss the draft Information Memorandum (MI) for the auction of the 3.5 frequency band. GHz. He represented the Minister of Communications and the Digital Economy.
The December 13 auction will mark a turning point for the Nigerian telecoms market. It will be the culmination of several efforts undertaken since 2020 by the Ministry of Communications and the Digital Economy and the NCC for the advent of 5G in the country. These efforts have resulted in several strong actions, in particular the development of a national policy on 5G.
The acquisition of the frequency spectrum for 5G will give the right to a spectrum license for a period of 10 years. Telecom operators wishing to take part in the auction will need to have an operational Universal Access Service (UASL) license. The potential holders of the telecoms spectrum for 5G will have a deployment obligation plan spanning a period of 10 years, from the date of granting of the license.
Between the first and second year of the license, they will have to deploy the service in at least one state in each of the six geopolitical zones of the country. From the third to the fifth year, they will be required to fully cover a geopolitical area of the country. Between the sixth and the tenth year, they will have to cover all the thirty-six states of the country.