5G: FG Flags Off 3.5GHz Spectrum Auction

The minister of communications and digital economy, Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, has flagged-off the process for the commencement of the auction of the 3.5 gigahertz (GHz) spectrum for the deployment of 5G in the country.

The auction being organised by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is being held at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja with MTN Nigeria, Airtel Nigeria and Mafab Communications Ltd, the three bidders who successfully submitted their bids.

The minister, who is also the chief host, in his welcome address said the deployment of Fifth Generation (5G) network on the 3.5 GHz spectrum will help security agencies surmount security challenges in the country.

According to him, with the approval on September 8th 2021 by President Muhammadu Buhari of the 5G policy for Nigeria, “we feel that if 5G is utilised effectively by our securities agencies, it will go a long way in curbing insecurities. 5G will provide an avenue for security agencies to leverage to surmount security challenges.

“Things like Things of Big Data, IOT, will be used to figure out security issues. The general benefits of 5G deployment include low latency, and high bandwidth. At the top of our 5G policy the security agencies can leapfrog to solve security issues.

“We are convinced beyond that that it will help our security, help our digital economy march, strengthen our financial sector, etc. We feel that if 5G is deployed in Nigeria, it will support all sectors of our economy.

“Nigeria has the largest digital economy in Africa, largest telecom market, broadband subscribers, telephone subscribers and we hope by 2025 we will have the largest 5G subscribers.

“Finally, I want to commend the federal executive council led by president Buhari for supporting and approving the 5G development policy in Nigeria.”

In his welcome address, the executive vice chairman, Nigeria Communications Commission, Prof Umar Danbatta, who is the auction overseer said, “today’s auction is momentous in that it will usher Nigeria into the 5G realm.”

The chairman, board of commissioners, NCC, prof Akande, in his remarks thanked the bidders for investing millions of dollars into the Nigerian telecommunications sector and wished them a successful auction.

MTN officials led by its chief executive officer, Karl Toriola chose bidder room two and monitoring room three. Mafab led by its chairman, Alhaji Musibau Bashiru chose bidder room one and monitoring room two; while Airtel officials led by Mr. Sreedhar Krishna, its chief financial officer chose bidder room three and monitoring room one.

The auction bidding process is being supervised by officials of the Department of State Security (DSS), Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) and observed by officials of the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) and Association of Licenced Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ALTON), NCC and other telecom stakeholders.

The reserve price of each of the two lots available for auction is $197.4 million.

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Kabir Olanrewaju Ishowo is a Kwara-Born, a community developer, An Online Media Practioner and the CEO/Publisher of Gistmeblog247.

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