There have been protests against MTN Nigeria’s bid to be permitted to take part in the next 5G spectrum auction from telecommunications providers.
The 5G spectrum auction slated for December 19, 2022, will feature more Fifth-Generation spectrum, which the operators claim MTN intended to purchase in violation of the law.
The dispute arose during discussions on Tuesday at the Nigerian Communications Commission-organized “Stakeholders’ Engagement on the Draft Information Memorandum on the Auction of Additional 2 Lots of 100MHz in the 3.5GHz Band.”
According to Assistant Director for Technical Standard and Network Integrity Department, NCC, Edoyemi Ogoh’s presentation of the feedback received from stakeholders on the draft IM, “MTN had respectfully reiterated its prior recommendations that, in order to ensure that all the spectrum can be assigned and used efficiently, it will be appropriate to allow successful bidders in the prior auctions of spectrum in the 3.5GHz (or indeed any other spectrum band) to participate.”
“It is in MTN’s considered view that a cumulative cap of 200MHz in the 3.5GHz would be appropriate across all awards in the band.”
On the issue, NCC responded, “Comment received. Other stakeholders’ views are also needed on this.”
Responding during the question-and-answer sessions, stakeholders and operators stressed that giving MTN another 5G license would undermine the spirit of competition by making them a dominant player and preventing the growth of other players.
Responding during the question-and-answer sessions, stakeholders and operators stressed that giving MTN another 5G license will undermine the spirit of competition by making them a dominating player and preventing the growth of other companies.
Ikenna Ikeme, general manager of regulatory affairs at MTN, defended the company by claiming that it entered the 2021 auction believing that it would be an open market and that it would be permitted to take part in future auctions should the need arise.
There will be additional consultations on the MTN issue, according to Ubale Maska, Executive Commissioner, NCC Technical Services.
In the telecommunications sector, he continued, the telco’s request was not the first, and Nigeria was an open market.
Umar Garba Danbatta, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, addressed the matter by stating that all demands would be given serious consideration and that a final decision would be taken before the auction.
More comments are being sought through November 17, 2022, he said, and the auction procedure is not intended to bring in money for the government.
He further mentioned that generating revenue for the federal government is not the goal. The money we’re going to make won’t have anything to do with it. The most recent auction set the price. No matter when the auction was held, we will always refer to the reserve price, Danbatta said.
The NCC, however, rejected requests from Airtel Nigeria to be given an administrative assignment of spectrum in order to offer 5G services in the nation after it took part in the previous auction.
Five 5G licenses will be distributed by Nigeria. Two have been put up for auction so far, and one, MTN, has started offering the service for sale.