The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) says it has successfully carried out a mock session for the 3.5 gigahertz (GHz) spectrum auction for the deployment of the Fifth Generation (5G) network in the country.
NCC spokesman, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, explained that the simulated auction held on Friday in Abuja was preparatory to the main auction scheduled to take place on Monday.
The conduct of the simulation exercise, he said, was in line with the requirements stipulated in the Information Memorandum (IM) for the 3.5 GHz spectrum auction.
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The IM is a document that defines the process for the licensing of the 3.5 GHz spectrum band earlier published on the commission’s website at the inception of the auction process.
“Using the Ascending Clock Auction System for the mock session, the three qualified bidders for the 3.5 GHz spectrum, namely MTN Nigeria, Mafab Communications Ltd, and Airtel Networks Ltd, participated in the software-based simulated auction exercise,” the statement said.
“Following the successful mock auction, the stage is set for the commission to license two slots in the 3.5 GHz spectrum band expected to be picked by successful bidders at the end of the Main Auction on Monday, December 13, 2021.
“The auction on Monday will mark a turning point in Nigeria’s determination to harness the benefits of 5G for the nation’s socio-economic growth as the concrete roll-out of 5G commences in 2022.”
Chairman of NCC Board of Commissioners, Professor Adeolu Akande; the Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the commission, Professor Umar Danbatta; Executive Commissioner (Technical Services), Ubale Maska, and the Executive Commissioner (Stakeholder Management), Adeleke Adewolu, were among those who witnessed the exercise.
Others include representatives from the bidding companies, senior management staff from relevant departments of the commission, technical consultants, software consultants, legal consultants, and other external observers.
In a brief remark at the mock auction, Danbatta said the commission had taken all necessary steps to ensure due diligence on the credibility of the consultants and to safeguard the integrity of the software solution being used to carry out the implementation of the national assignment.
“This is consistent with the open, credible transparent, and fair manner by which the commission is known to have conducted previous auction processes, which have been locally and globally applauded,” Danbatta was quoted as saying in the statement.
In order to ensure a fail-proof process, Adinde said the NCC also carried out a simulation of the manual process of the auction, aside from the electronic mock.
He explained that this was to make bidders familiar with the manual auction in case of any circumstances on the main action day that may warrant a need to switch to the manual auction.
“It is pertinent to note that the two forms- electronic and manual- are clearly stated in the IM and they follow the same process,” the statement added.
“Representatives of the bidding companies, the commission, the consultants, and other observers at the mock auction expressed satisfaction with the conduct of the simulation exercise, which also provided an opportunity for the commission to perfect the auction process ahead of the main auction.
“The commission had commenced the process for the auction of the 5G spectrum in the last quarter of the 2021 and had, since then, carried out a number of activities ahead of the main auction.”