The Nigeria Telecom regulator, the NCC, closed the submission of queries for the upcoming auction of spectrum in the 3.5GHz band, which falls under its 5G technology strategy. The 5G Technological Development plan follows on from its broader National Broadband plan, which also extends to fiber rollout and localized affordable smartphone production.
The auction is planned for early December 2021, with the spectrum priced at US$197.4 million and above for two lots of 100MHz spectrum across the 3.5GHz-3.6GHz and 3.7GHz-3.8GHz bands. The spectrum licenses themselves are valid until 2031, with the winning bidders required to launch commercial services before the end of 2022 and expand coverage to reach all of Nigeria’s six political zones by 2023.
Source: Nigeria Country Intelligence Report
High smartphone penetration in Nigeria serves as a foundation for adoption of the higher generation mobile services, mainly 4G and 5G. Smartphone subscriptions uptake in Nigeria will grow from 47% in 2021 to over 90% in 2026, supported by the proliferation of affordable smartphones and entry-level mobile offers. For instance, e-commerce marketplace Jumia Nigeria is offering the Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphone at an entry level price of NGN29,500 (US$72), down from the original price of NGN34,250 (US$83).
Currently, prices for some entry-level 5G phones start at US$320, by the time of 5G launch, more affordable 5G smartphones will become available, lowering the opportunity cost for customers to upgrade to 5G.