Amid Bola Tinubu 'Link' to Mafab Communications, Airtel Africa Provides Details on Losing out on 5G Licence

Amid Bola Tinubu 'Link' to Mafab Communications, Airtel Africa Provides Details on Losing out on 5G Licence

  • Mafab Communications and Mobile Telecommunication Network (MTN) were named the winners of a 5G license in Nigeria for implementation in 2022
  • This came as a surprise given that Mafab Communications is an unknown name and Airtel has been in operation in Nigeria for over ten years
  • It was later rumoured that former Lagos governor, Bola Tinubu, is a shareholder in Mafab Communications, which caused eyebrows to raise, for which Airtel Africa has provided an explanation

Airtel Africa Plc has revealed why its Nigerian company, Airtel Nigeria, withdrew from the 5G auction held on Monday, December 13, 2021, which was won by one of the company's competitors in the nation.

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) had held an auction for the award of two slots for the 3.5GHz spectrum licence.

Three companies, Airtel Nigeria, MTN Nigeria and Mafab Communications Limited, participated but Airtel pulled out after its final bid of $270 million was surpassed by the other two.

Amid Bola Tinubu link to Mafab communications, Airtel give provides details on losing out on 5G licence
Umar Garba Danbatta the Executive Vice-Chairman of NCC speaks at a stakeholder event. Credit: NCC
Source: Facebook

The exercise elicited mixed comments, particularly because it included a relatively unknown Mafab, and it was thought that something unethical occurred.

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This compelled the NCC to release a statement, emphasizing that the auction was handled transparently and on a fair playing field for all bidders.

It further stated that it was not aware of any connection between Mafab and former Lagos State Governor Bola Tinubu, Businessday reports.

Airtel Africa also in a statement on its website has debunked the rumours tha the exercise was not transparent, commending NCC.

Its Group CEO, Segun Ogunsanya, praised the regulator especially for the effectiveness of the exercise, calling it transparent.

Ogunsanya also acknowledged that the company's Nigerian unit withdrew from the auction after submitting its final bid of $270 million.

However, he assured that the firm will monitor the market and possibly explore affordable 5G services to meet the broadband demands of its subscribers.

Ogunsanya said:

"The business case for 5G is emerging across all Sub-Saharan African countries, and we remain dedicated to expanding broadband capacity in our different regions.
"Airtel Africa retains ample capacity, spread across various spectrum bands, in Nigeria and its other markets, to continue to meet the growing data demands of our customers for many years to come, with several potential routes available to the business to deliver even greater capacities, cost-effectively, in the future." 

Bashir: the quiet billionaire behind Mafab communications that defeated Airtel

Meanwhile had profiled Musbahu Mohammad Bashir the man behind Mafab communications the company that defeated Airtel to the 5G licence.

Mafab Communication is licensed by the Nigerian Telecommunications commission to provide and operate Local Interconnect and International carrier services.

Not many Nigerians have heard of Mafab communications, a company founded on the 8th of July, 2020.


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