Telecommunications companies have objected to MTN Nigeria’s request to participate in the upcoming 5G spectrum auction.
According to the operators, MTN’s intention to obtain additional Fifth-Generation spectrum in the upcoming 5G-spectrum auction on December 19, 2022, violated competition laws.
On Tuesday, the Nigerian Communications Commission organized a ‘Stakeholders’ Engagement on the Draft Information Memorandum on the Auction of Additional 2 Lots of 100MHz in the 3.5GHz Band’ in Lagos.
“MTN had respectfully reiterated its prior recommendations that, 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),” read the presentation of the response received earlier from stakeholders on the draft IM, read Assistant Director for Technical Standard and Network Integrity Department, NCC, Edoyemi Ogoh.
“MTN believes that a cumulative cap of 200MHz in the 3.5GHz band would be appropriate across all awards in the band.”
In response to the issue, NCC stated, “Comment received. Other stakeholders’ perspectives are also required on this.”
During the question-and-answer sessions, stakeholders and operators who responded claimed that awarding another 5G license to MTN would make them a dominant player and would not allow other players to grow, emphasizing that such a move was contrary to the spirit of competition.
In response, MTN’s General Manager, of Regulatory Affairs, Ikenna Ikeme, stated that the company entered the last auction in 2021 with the expectation that it would be an open market and that it would be permitted to participate in future auctions if necessary.
More consultations on the MTN issue, according to NCC Executive Commissioner, Technical Services, Ubale Maska, will take place. He went on to say that the telco’s request was not the first in the telecommunications industry, as precedents existed, and Nigeria was an open market.
In response to the issue, NCC Executive Vice Chairman Umar Garba Danbatta stated that all requests would be carefully considered and final feedback provided before the auction.
He stated that more comments will be accepted until November 17, 2022, and that the auction process is not intended to generate revenue for the government.
“The goal isn’t to make money for the federal government. It has nothing to do with the amount of money we’ll make. The last auction determined the price. “Regardless of when the auction was held, we will always refer to the reserve price,” Danbatta said.
Meanwhile, the NCC denied Airtel Nigeria’s request for an administrative assignment of spectrum to provide 5G services in the country after it participated in the previous auction.
Nigeria intends to grant five 5G licenses. So far, two have been auctioned, and one, MTN, has commercially launched the service.