Airtel, a telecommunications company, has finished paying for the license for its Fifth Generation (5G) network in Nigeria. Through the Nigerian Communications Commission, the company paid the Federal Government $316.7 million for the 5G license and 4G spectrum (NCC).
This was revealed yesterday by Airtel Africa Plc, the parent company of the Nigerian subsidiary and trader of shares on the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited.
The company stated in a regulatory notice at the NGX that it will pay the regulator $316.7 million in Naira for the 100 MHz of spectrum in the 3500 MHz band and 2×5 MHz of 2600 MHz.
A top NCC official stated that Airtel paid for the 5G license exactly two weeks ago, in December 2022, and that payment was received.
Only Airtel and Standard Network & Connections Limited (Standard Network) had registered interest in the auction of the 3.5GHz spectrum band for 5G rollout in the second auction as of the close of business on December 5, 2022, according to a statement from the NCC.
The commission claimed that only Airtel had paid the Intention to Bid Deposit (IBD) as required by the Information Memorandum (IM), despite Standard Network sending an email requesting a 12-working-day extension, which was unacceptable given the auction’s schedule.
The Commission stated that Airtel having met all the provisions in the IM, has, therefore, emerged as the sole bidder. “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.” Airtel paid $273.6 million for the 5G licence.
With the licenses, Airtel said this would ensure that its subscribers enjoy better Internet services.
“This additional spectrum will support our investments in network expansion for both mobile data and fixed wireless home broadband capability, including 5G rollout, providing significant capacity to accommodate our continued strong data growth in the country and exceptional customer experience,” a part of the disclosure stated.
The GSM network provider stated that the penetration of data customers in Nigeria remains low, providing significant opportunities for future growth.
“The acquisition of 5G spectrum will underpin our growth strategy by enabling the launch of higher speed connectivity to enhance customer service and accelerate digitalisation for consumers, enterprises and the public sector. The key benefits of 5G will include higher speeds, lower latency, significant network capacity as well as an improved user experience.