The Federal Government claims to have won $820.8 million with the auction of the 5G license processes.
Isa Ali Ibrahim, minister of communications and digital economy, revealed this during the ministry’s presentation of the scorecard of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in Abuja on Thursday.
Mafab Communications Ltd and MTN Nigeria plc were the two successful winners of the 3.5 gigahertz (GHz) spectrum auction for the deployment of fifth generation (5G) technology to support the delivery of ubiquitous broadband services in Nigeria.
According to the minister, in addition to the revenue generated by 5G spectrum, revenue is being generated from other spectrum fees. “For example, in 2020, N26,428,642,451.61 were generated as spectrum fees.”
“MTN, Mafab and Airtel participated in the auction process and each got a 100 MHz lot of the 3.5 GHz spectrum after successfully participating in the auction process.
“This generated $820.8 million for the Federal Government. 5G services are now available in at least 225 sites in eight Nigerian states,” she said.
It also noted that more than 16 million Nigerians gained broadband access, as the number of people with broadband access increased from 72,153,824 in August 2019 to 88,273,690 in November 2022.
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“The cost of data was reduced from N1,200 per GB in August 2019 to N350 (well before the plan to convert it to N390 by December 2025).
“Under the National Broadband Plan, we were supposed to have 90 percent broadband coverage by December 2025. However, we recently licensed Starlink to provide services and this has given us approximately 100 percent coverage. three years ahead of schedule.
The minister commended President Muhammadu Buhari for the adoption of the National Digital Economy Policy on the Strategy for a Digital Nigeria.
According to him, the policy was implemented in various pillars including: development regulation, digital skills or literacy, service infrastructure, development and promotion of digital services, development and promotion of indigenous content, among others.
In addition, he revealed the ministry’s effort to guarantee the suspension of excise taxes in the telecommunications sector. He said the introduction of excise duties on the sector would be too heavy a burden, as it has seen an increase in revenue over the years.
“When there was an effort to introduce special taxes in the telecommunications sector. We explained to the president the dangers that this will have on the sector. He immediately approved the suspension and said that anything that brings unnecessary hardship to our citizens will not be tolerated.
“That is what stopped the plan to introduce excise duties in the telecom sector because there was no need, a sector that increased revenue from N51 billion to over N408 billion and wants to introduce more burden on it. That is why Buhari said that we cannot accept that and approved its suspension,” he added.