MTN Nigeria renews Spectrum, UAS licenses for 10 years with N71.9 billion

David Afolayan
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Telecommunications company, MTN Nigeria has announced that its Unified Access Service (UAS) licence and spectrum licence for wireless local loop in the 900MHz and 1800MHz band has been renewed by the country’s regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

According to a statement signed by the company secretary, Uto Ukpanah, the licenses, which expired on August 31, 2021, have now been renewed for a further ten-year period, starting on September 1, 2021.

Recall that we reported a month ago that the NCC refuted reports that it had renewed MTN Nigeria’s licence for an additional 10 years. Now, The regulator (NCC) has acknowledged the receipt of the sum of N71.6 billion for the spectrum licence and a sum of N374.6 million for its UAS licence for the period between the 1st of September 2021 to 31 August, 2031.

Speaking on the update, MTN Nigeria’s Chief Executive Officer, Karl Toriola, said that “MTN Nigeria is delighted with its strong partnership with the NCC and looks forward to working closely with the commission and the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy to accelerate the growth of Nigeria’s digital economy.”

“Renewing our licences for another 10 years is very important to our business and enables us to continue to provide services to ensure the benefits of a modern connected life for our people”, he concludes.

Renewing its license in Nigeria is strategic for MTN. The company’s business in Nigeria witnessed double-digit growth in the first half of this year. According to the unaudited results for the half-year ended June, the telcos service revenue rose by 24.1% to N790.3 billion.

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A breakdown shows that voice revenue grew by 13.1% to N413.5 billion and data revenue continued the positive momentum from the second half of 2020, rising by 48.3% to N228.5bn as data traffic rose by 83.0% YoY despite losing over 7 million subscribers within the period.

Some background…

The history of licenses dates back to the year 2001 when the NCC issued the first operating licenses to MTN Nigeria, Econet (now Airtel) and MTEL. The commission has wide discretionary powers to plan, manage, assign and monitor the use of spectrum by commercial users of telecommunications services in the country.

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The Unified Access Service Licence (UAS) was introduced by the NCC in February 2005. It allows existing fixed wireless and mobile licensees to provide both services subject to geographical/regional limitations contained in their licence.

Spectrum licenses have been a significant source of revenue generation for the Federal Government.

So far, the NCC is said to have generated about N150 billion from spectrum licence fees between January and May 2021 alone (N36 billion above the projected revenue from spectrum fees in 2021). This is not surprising as Airtel Nigeria renewed its spectrum licence in the 900MHz and 1800MHz bands for N71.6 billion in February.

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