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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is charged with the responsibility of introducing innovative services and practices in the Nigerian telecommunications industry, in accordance with international best practices and trends. All things going as planned, Nigeria, will by January 2022 join the league of countries that have deployed 5G.

A planned week-long auction will take place in December 2021. To prepare all participants, the NCC released an Information Memorandum (IM) at a stakeholder engagement forum on 4 November 2021. Under the IM, the NCC has proposed:

  • An auction on the 13th of December 2021 for 3.5 Gigahertz (3.5 GHz) spectrum for the deployment of the 5G spectrum;
  • A reserved price of USD 197.4 Million (approximately ₦75 billion);
  • A deposit of 10% of the proposed auction price;
  • That licensees are to have a minimum requirement of an operational Universal Access Service Licence (UASL) , new entrants or licensees without a UASL will be required to obtain a UASL operational license to be qualified for the 5G licence. The auction also comes with a 10-year spectrum licence beginning from the date of award of the licence and
  • Full regulatory compliance of Licensees with their respective licence terms. Licensees with outstanding debts that have secured NCC’s approval for a payment plan will also be allowed to participate in the auction.

The licensees ahead of the auction have raised reservations on the reserve price of USD 197.4 Million (approximately ₦75 billion); so, is the NCC asking for too much? A quick comparison with other jurisdictions provides the following insightful information:

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