5G Technology: Airtel wins 3.5GHz spectrum band

Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has announced Airtel Networks Limited as winner of a licence to operate 3.5GHz spectrum meant to deploy Fifth Generation (5G) technology for provision of robust broadband services.

The announcement was contained in a statement signed by NCC’s Director of Public Affairs, Reuben Mouka, Wednesday, December 7, 2022, a development that brings to three the number of operators licenced to provide 5G services in the country.

Airtel, in other words, now join Mafab Communications Ltd and MTN Nigeria Plc, who had earlier won licences in an auction.

Mafab and MTN emerged in a keenly contested 3.5GHz Spectrum auction that took place at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja on Monday, December 13, 2021.

Below is full text of the NCC’s press statement 

Press Statement

Status of the 3.5GHz Spectrum Auction

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) hereby announces that by the close of business on Monday, December 5, 2022, only two companies expressed interest in the auction of the 3.5GHz Spectrum band namely; 

i. Airtel Networks Limited (Airtel) and 

ii. Standard Network & Connections Limited (Standard Network).

However, only Airtel paid the Intention to Bid Deposit (IBD) as stipulated in the Information Memorandum (IM) whereas, Standard Network sent an email appeal for the deadline to be extended by twelve (12) working days which was not acceptable in view of the auction timetable.

Having met all the provision in the IM, Airtel has, therefore, emerged as the sole Bidder.

Consequently, there shall be no further bidding and the Commission will proceed to the Assignment Stage in line with the published Information Memorandum guiding the licensing process.


Reuben Mouka
Director, Public Affairs
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