MTN’s public offer of 575m shares ends:There are serious indications that MTN Nigeria may have paid balance of the $273.6 million 5G license fee to the federal government, even before the 24 February deadline.

Strong sources from the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC told Vanguard yesterday.

The source said MTN paid the money since two weeks ago but the commission will make the announcement in due time. The source however told Vanguard that Mafab Communications, the second highest bidder was yet to pay as at the time of filing this report.

Although the source did not reveal the exact amount MTN paid, Vanguard has done a rough calculation to put it around N106.49bn at the prevailing official exchange rate (N415/$1).

The amount is to balance with the N7.5 billion, 10 per cent of the reserve price of $197.4 million (N75 billion) which the telco paid as expression of interest before the auction.

Recall that after winning the 5G license, the two winners, MTN and Mafab communications were given until February 24 to pay the license fee or forfeit the non-refundable 10 per cent of the reserve price which they paid as expression of interest before the auction.

On Monday, December 13, 2021, two telecom operators, MTN Nigeria and Mafab communications emerged winners of Nigeria’s 3.5GHz, fifth generation, 5G license auction.

The winning price was $273, 600,000 million and the winners were expected to pay on or before February 24, 2022. They were to pay in Naira denomination at the prevailing CBN rate.

Announcing result of the auction, Executive Vice Chairman of Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, Prof Umar Danbatta, said MTN Nigeria was the highest bidder with additional $15,900,000 million to get Lot 1, while MAFAB Communications added $11,120,000 million to get Lot 2.

The auction was keenly contested with the three bidders participating actively till the 11th round. The bid opened with $199, 374m, from the reserved bid of $197.4m

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The first round of the auction started at a price of $199, 347,256, second round closed at $201,367,740 million, the third at $204,388,256, the fourth at $209,497,962.50, the fifth at $215,782,901.38, the sixth at $224,414,217.43, seven round at $231, 146,643.96, eight round, $240.392,509.71, round nine at $251,210,176.65, round ten at $263,017,050.77 million, round eleven closed at $275,904,886.25 million.

The auction started after a brief ceremony where the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Professor Isa Ibrahim Pantami , Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC board of directors, Professor Adeolu Akande and Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Professor Umar Danbatta addressed the participants and observers on the imperative of the spectrum auction.

In his address Pantami traced the journey from 2019 when the 5G technology was tested in Lagos, Abuja and some other cities in Nigeria and found to be suitable and desirable for the country. He also reminded the audience that the test was also followed by an investigation on claims the technology had health dangers. He said the result of the investigation showed 5G technology had no health hazards.

He expressed optimism that by 2022 Nigeria will have the largest 5G coverage in Africa. He was also of the opinion that 5G, could solve, among others, some of the security challenges in the country, since the technology provides real time services and platforms.

Pantami also noted that 5G will go a long way in promoting the economic development of Nigeria, because digital technology is a key enabler of other sectors, especially the financial sector.

VANGUARD

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