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– The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has confirmed the issuance of final letters of award of Fifth Generation (5G) Spectrum Licenses to MTN and Mafab Communications, winners of the Commission’s 3.5GHz spectrum auction on Monday, December 13, 2021.

The Commission’s management, led by EVC Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, affirmed this to the Board of Commissioners at the Board’s Special Meeting on Wednesday, April 20 and Thursday, April 21, 2022, where the Board discussed updates from Management on the spectrum auction’s status.

The two licensees are now expected to accelerate the deployment of 5G networks, which will usher Nigeria into a more robust Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) and a more digitized Nigerian economy, following the issuance of the final letters of awards of 5G spectrum in accordance with the Auction’s Information Memorandum (IM).

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The licensees are slated to begin rolling out 5G services on August 24, 2022, in accordance with the terms and conditions of the 5G license.

When fully operational, the 5G network will provide several benefits and prospects for the country’s faster growth and smart living.

Significant network benefits are also promised as a result of the technology, including increased connection speed, mobility, and capacity, as well as low-latency capabilities.

The National Frequency Managenent Council (NFMC), chaired by the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, officially handed over the spectrum allocation for 5G deployment as well as the Federal Government-approved National Policy on 5G to the Commission on February 22, 2022, following a transparent, diligent, fair, and credible auction of 3.5GHz on December 13, 2021.

Following that, on February 24, 2022, the Commission validated the two spectrum winners’ complete payment of $273.6 million each for the 5G spectrum license, in addition to the spectrum assignment fee paid by MTN.

The Commission is optimistic that effective implementation of the National 5G Policy will hasten the achievement of national targets set out in the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP) 2020-2025, the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) 2020-2030, and other sectoral policies aimed at accelerating Nigeria’s digital transformation.

While licensees are expected to achieve their 5G network rollout deadlines, the NCC is requiring the private sector and government to work together to revolutionize every element of the economy through 5G, which will usher in greater change than the 1G, 2G, 3G, and 4G networks.

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