Nigeria’s telecoms regulator finalised the issue of 5G licences to MTN’s local division and Mafab Communications following a spectrum auction in 2021, with the pair expected to commence rollout of initial services in late August.

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) stated it expected an acceleration in deployment of 5G networks, which it is relying on to usher-in a more digitised economy.

MTN and Mafab Communications agreed to pay $273.6 million for 100MHz in the 3.5GHz band, outbidding Airtel Nigeria in the process.

The NCC noted the licensees had been given a timetable on deployment obligations and there would be “collective efforts and support of the private-sector and government toward transforming every aspect of the nation’s economy through 5G”.

GSMA Intelligence Q1 connection figures place MTN Nigeria as the largest mobile operator in the country with 69 million, 13 million ahead of its nearest rival Glo Mobile.

Mafab Communications currently supplies interconnection and other wholesale services and is yet to publicly announce how it plans to use its 5G network.