MTN Group Ltd.’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 offered at the auction on Monday, according to the Nigerian Communications Commission. The second was granted to Mafab Communications Ltd., beating Bharti Airtel Ltd.’s Africa unit to it. The winning bid price was $273.6 million, $76.2 million above the $197.4 million reserve price set before the auction.
The winners are expected to pay the bid price “less the intention-to-bid deposit, by Feb. 24, according to an emailed statement from the NCC.
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. Mafab Communications, a Nigerian-owned business, was registered in July last year to provide local interconnect and international carrier services, according to information on its website.