MTN Nigeria and its market rival, Mafab Communications Limited have received greenlight to roll out the Fifth Generation (5G) network in the third quarter of this year.
Ripples Nigeria had reported that MTN Nigeria and Mafab Communications had paid $273.6 million for the 5G network license following Airtel Nigeria’s inability to further compete for the license.
The newspaper also reported that the Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC) was stalling the rollout of the network.
MTN Nigeria had been quiet on its rollout period due to the NCC’s delay in issuing the license.
However, in a statement issued on Wednesday by its Director of Public Affairs, Ikechukwu Adinde, the commission said the rollout would begin on August 24.
The y’ello network and Mafab Communications have two years to operate before NCC issues three more licences.
This means Airtel Nigeria and Globacom will not be able to offer their subscribers a 5G service until 2024 unless they buy the license from Mafab.
Adinde said the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Umar Dambatta, briefed the commission’s board on the status of the spectrum auction during at a meeting on April 20 and April 21 in Abuja.
The statement read: The final letters on the awards of 5G spectrum had been distributed to MTN Nigeria and Mafab Communications with the two licensees now “expected to accelerate deployment of 5G network that will usher Nigeria into a more robust Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) and a more digitised Nigerian economy.”
“In line with the terms and conditions of the 5G license, the licensees are expected to commence the rollout of 5G services effective from August 24, 2022.”
Nigeria is already behind countries like South Africa where MTN and Vodacom began the deployment of the 5G network in 2020.