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MTN Nigeria, Mafab communications get Nigeria’s first 5G licences

Nigeria joins the race to expand 5G technology in sub-saharan Africa.
Image: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg

MTN’s Nigerian unit has been awarded a 5G license in Africa’s most populous country, paving the way for the continent’s largest wireless carrier to supply faster internet to consumers and businesses.

MTN Nigeria Communications Plc won one of the two licenses on offer at the auction on Monday, according to the Nigerian Communicatios Commission. The second was granted to Mafab Communications Ltd beating Bharti Airtel’s Africa unit to it. Both MTN Nigeria and Mafab reached the 11th auction round where bid price was set at $275.9 million for each of the license, above the $197.4 million reserve price.

Nigeria aims to deploy 5G over major urban areas of the country and become Africa’s biggest network for the spectrum by 2025, Minister of Communications Isa Pantami said. “This technology will go a long way in supporting our security institutions who will leverage on it and ensure that we are all secure,” he said.

MTN is the West African country’s biggest wireless operator, while Airtel Africa Plc, which listed in Lagos and London in 2019, vies with local operator Globacom Ltd. as the country’s second-biggest carrier.

© 2021 Bloomberg

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