This is because MTN Nigeria has disclosed that the telecom regulator has also renewed its 2100MHz spectrum for a period of 15 years, effective from 1 May 2022 to 30 April 2037.
This spectrum enables the telecom company to continue to provide 3G services on its network. For this spectrum, MTN said, it has also paid N58.66 billion to the NCC.
Speaking on this development, MTN Nigeria CEO, Karl Toriola averred that the renewal of its 3G licence for another 15 years, means that, “MTN will not be shutting down its 3G service even as it spends more on expanding its 5G service across the country. This will allow people in rural communities, who cannot afford 4G or 5G phones to continue to enjoy access to the internet on their 3G devices.”
Toriola said: “This is a significant milestone in delivering our Ambition 2025 strategy. The access to NTEL’S 90OMHz and 1800MHz spectrums broadens our spectrum holdings and improves our 3G and 4G user experience as coverage and capacity will be enhanced by utilising these spectrums.”
In the same vein, Airtel Africa has announced that its Nigerian subsidiary, Airtel Networks Limited (Airtel Nigeria), paid N58.7 billion to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to renew its 2×10 MHz 2100 MHz spectrum licence.
This was contained in a statement to the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX), which was signed by Company Secretary, Simon O’Hara.
The statement noted that once renewed, the license would be valid for 15 years, following the expiry of the previous licence on April 31, 2022.
“This investment to renew the license reflects our continued confidence in the opportunity inherent across the Nigerian market, supporting the local communities and economies through furthering digital inclusion and connectivity,” Airtel Africa stated.
Recall, Business Remarks reported the South Africa Communications Minister, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni proposed that South Africa switch off its 2G cellular networks by June 2024 and its 3G networks by March 2025.
Globally, the expansion of 5G has pushed internet service providers like AT&T and T-Mobile to shut down 3G service earlier in 2022, and most recently, Verizon and Vodafone have notified customers that they intend to cut off 3G-enabled devices from their networks from December 2022 and December 2023 respectively.
In Nigeria, MTN was the first telecom operator to launch commercial 5G in September 2022 and the company is further boosting its 3G and 4G services with the latest spending on additional spectrum.