A mock session has been successfully carried out by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for the 3.5gigahertz (GHz) spectrum auction for the deployment of the Fifth Generation (5G) network in the country.
The event which held on Sunday at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, was in preparation to the main auction scheduled to take place on Monday, December at the same venue.
The conduct of the simulation exercise was in line with the requirements stipulated in the Information Memorandum (IM) for 3.5 GHz spectrum auction.
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.
In attendance at the mock auction was the Chairman, Board of Commissioners of NCC, Prof. Adeolu Akande; Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta; Executive Commissioner, Technical Services, Ubale Maska and the Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management, Adeleke Adewolu.
Others, who witnessed the mock auction 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.
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.
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 the 5G commences in 2022.
At the event, 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 this historic 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,” he said.
To ensure a fail-proof process, the commission also carried out a simulation of the manual process of the auction, aside the electronic mock. This is to ensure that bidders are also 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.
Representatives of the bidding companies, the commission, the consultants and other observers at the Mock Auction expressed satisfaction with the conduct of the exercise, which also provided an opportunity for NCC to perfect the auction process ahead of the main auction.
NCC had commenced the process for the auction of the 5G spectrum in the last quarter of 2021 and had, since then, carried out a number of activities ahead of the main auction.