Telecommunication companies have kicked against MTN Nigeria’s request to be allowed to participate in the upcoming 5G-spectrum auction arrangement.
According to the operators, MTN’s intention to get an additional Fifth-Generation spectrum in the upcoming 5G-spectrum auction scheduled for December 19, 2022, was against the competition laws.
The disagreement occurred during deliberations at the Nigerian Communications Commission- organised ‘Stakeholders’ Engagement on the Draft Information Memorandum on the Auction of Additional 2 Lots of 100MHz in the 3.5GHz Band,’ in Lagos on Tuesday.
The presentation of the response received earlier from stakeholders on the draft IM, read by Assistant Director for Technical Standard and Network Integrity Department, NCC, Edoyemi Ogoh, read, “MTN had respectfully reiterates 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) to participate in future awards.
“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.”
During the question sessions, stakeholders and operators, who responded, claimed that handing MTN another 5G license would make them a dominant player and such would not make other players grow, emphasising that such move was against the spirit of competition.
While reacting, the General Manager, Regulatory Affairs, MTN, Ikenna Ikeme, said the company had entered the last auction in 2021 with the expectation that it was an open market and it would be allowed to participate in other auctions should the need arise.
According to NCC Executive Commissioner, Technical Services, Ubale Maska, there would be more consultations on the issue of MTN. He added that the telco’s request wasn’t the first in the telecommunications industry as there were precedents, and Nigeria was an open market.
Speaking to the issue, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Umar Garba Danbatta, said all requests would be given due consideration and final feedback made before the auction.
He said more comments are invited till November 17, 2022, and the auction process isn’t to generate revenue for the government.
“The motive is not to generate money for the Federal Government. It has nothing to do with the revenue we are going to generate. The price was determined by the last auction. We will always make reference to the reserve price no matter when the auction was had,” Danbatta said.
Meanwhile, requests made by Airtel Nigeria to be granted an administrative assignment of spectrum to provide 5G services in the country, having participated in the last auction, were opposed by the NCC.
According to reports, the Federal Government plans to issue five 5G licenses. Two have been auctioned and one, MTN, has launched the service commercially.
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