The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) may issue three additional 3.5GHz spectrum licenses for Fifth Generation (5G) licenses in the next two years.
Prof. Umar Danbatta, the Commission’s Executive Vice Chairman (EVC), hinted at the above on Wednesday in Lagos.
The timing of the three licenses’ rollout, according to Danbatta, will be determined by how quickly the winners of the first two licenses develop their respective spectrums.
The EVC said this during his visit with the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy Prof. Isa Pantami to Lagos for a breakfast session with start-up digital innovation tech stakeholders on Tuesday.
The Federal Government declared successful bids for two 3.5GHz spectral 5G network licenses for US$547.2 million in December 2021.
The winning bidders, MTN Nigeria and Mafab Communications, were given until Thursday, February 24, to pay US$273,600,000 each.
MTN had paid in full for the license, according to Danbatta, while Mafab had to pay up.
The Federal Government handed over the spectrum allocation for the 5G rollout to the NCC last week in Abuja.
“Two telecommunications companies won the bid for 5G spectrum licenses in December and were given two months to pay up. MTN has paid US$273,600,000 so far, with Mafab Communication having until February 24 to pay,’ he said.
According to the EVC, the Information Memorandum has a clause that states, “We must offer our selected bidders up to two years to operate.”
He remained tight-lipped about what would happen if Mafab missed the payment deadline.
Danbatta, on the other hand, pointed out that the waiting period might be revised if necessary. He also mentioned that the government might offer the two licensees additional incentives.
“This is so that we can all agree that there is a need to reduce the time it takes to receive a license,” he concluded.