Earlier this week, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) disclosed that anyone interested in participating in the forthcoming 3.5GHz spectrum auction for 5G will have to pay a total of US$27.36 million as Intention-to-Bid Deposit (IBD).
In a final Information Memorandum (IM) for the spectrum auction, the Commission emphasised that the deposit must be paid by 5 PM on December 5, 2022.
The spectrum auction is scheduled to take place on December 19, 2022, and the deposit amount represents 10 per cent of the spectrum’s US$273.6 million reserve price.
Speaking on the requirements for participation, NCC said, “Under the full instructions laid out within this IM, applicants are to submit a completed application, including appropriate template documentation and confirmation of transfer of the Intention-to-Bid Deposit (IBD), of US$27,3 million on 05 December 2022. Accordingly, a Bank Guarantee, or similar instruments, will not be acceptable. This deposit will bind the Applicant to take up a licence, should it be a successful bidder, at the Reserve Price or any higher bid value submitted during the process.”
BMA understands that with the new eligibility criteria in the final IM, MTN Nigeria is now qualified to participate in the auction. The updated IM, which resulted from the stakeholder engagement forum held by the Commission last week, changed part of the eligibility criteria.
While NCC stated in the initial IM that licensees with up to 100MHz in the 3.5GHz band will not be eligible to participate in the auction, the updated IM said: “Any Licensee of the Commission or any entity that has up to 200MHz in the 3.5GHz band in Nigeria will not be eligible to participate in this Auction.”
Currently, there is no operator in Nigeria that has up to 200MHz in the 3.5GHz spectrum band. However, MTN and Mafab Communications, which won the first 3.5GHz spectrum auction in 2021, have 100MHz each, meaning that either can still participate in the forthcoming auction.