MTN, Airtel and Little Known Mafab War Over Nigeria 5G License
(Bloomberg) -- A bidding war is ongoing between two of Nigeria’s biggest telecommunication companies and a little known firm over a 5G license in Africa’s largest economy.
MTN Group’s Nigerian unit, Bharti Airtel African unit and Mafab Communications Ltd., a local provider of telecom services, are participating in the auction which started Monday morning and currently in the 11th round as of 7 p.m. local time. On offer are two 5G licenses for a minimum price of $197.4 million. The auction price was set at $275.9 million at the 11th round, almost $80 million above the reserve price.
MTN Nigeria had in October expressed concern that the reserve price for the 5G spectrum set by the regulator in the West African nation was too high. MTN wants to deploy the technology to improve services to Nigerians, but will “make sure that we are doing so to create value for our shareholders,” Chief Executive Officer Karl Toriola said.
MTN Nigeria 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 Ltd. was registered in July last year to provide local interconnect and international carrier services, according to information on its website.
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