How 17 months old ‘Mafab Communications Ltd’ battled 2 biggest telecom companies, win Nigeria 5G license

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The fall-out of Nigeria 5G license for  a Nigeria’s biggest telecommunication companiy and a little-known firm-Mafab Communications Ltd

The genesis, MTN Group’s Nigerian unit, Bharti Airtel African unit and Mafab Communications Ltd entered into a local provider of telecom services, participated in the auction which started Monday morning and ended in the 11th round as of 7 p.m. local time. On offer are two 5G licenses for a minimum price of $197.4 million. The auction price was set at $275.9 million at the 11th round, almost $80 million above the reserve price.

The AmehNews recall that MTN Nigeria had in October expressed concern that the reserve price for the 5G spectrum set by the regulator in the West African nation was too high. MTN wants to deploy the technology to improve services to Nigerians, but will “make sure that we are doing so to create value for our shareholders,” Chief Executive Officer Karl Toriola said.


MTN Nigeria is the West African country’s biggest wireless operator, while Airtel Africa Plc, which listed in Lagos and London in 2019, vies with local operator Globacom Ltd. as the country’s second-biggest carrier.


In responses, many stakeholders view their opinion on how Mafab Communications Ltd that registered in July last year within 17 months to provide local interconnect and international carrier services and incorporated on the 8th of July, 2020, and equally licensed by the NCC to provide and operate Local Interconnect and International carrier services can gathered enough money and experience in telecommunication landscape to win airtel (a company that is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index) in an auction for 5g License effectively.?


Information on the company’s website disclosed that Mafab Communications operates under three licenses, including interconnecting exchange, international data access, and value-added services, providing cloud hosting or co-location services.

Mafab is one of the technological subsidiaries of Althani Group, a business conglomerate chaired by Musbahu Muhammad Bashir.


Furthermore, the company’s website revealed, “Althani group of companies is a corporate group of companies in Nigeria with a collection of subsidiary businesses. The group consists of a variety of companies with diverse objectives, cutting across several sectors including oil and gas, housing, construction, aviation, amongst others.”


The man behind Mafab Communications Ltd is a person of Musbahu Muhammad Bashir who serves as chairman on the board of his two companies — Althani Group of Companies and Cobalt International Services Limited, a pre-shipment inspection agent currently inspection agent for oil and gas exports in the country.


NCC also said that consistent with its long-established regulatory culture and tradition, the process leading to the auction of the 5G spectrum was open, fair and transparent as the public auction followed a rigorous due process and was witnessed by a cross-section of stakeholders as observers, including the media, the Association of Telecom Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) as well as civil society groups.

Mafab Communications Limited is a corporate entity duly licensed by the Commission to conduct telecommunications business.


NCC said in a statement signed by its Spokesman, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, that the company, which is in good regulatory standing with the Commission, currently holds international data access (IDA), inter-connect data exchange (IDE) and Value-Added Service (VAS) licences.


“It is pertinent to state that the Information Memorandum (IM) for the auction of the 3.5 gigahertz (GHz) spectrum clearly set out eligibility criteria for participation of interested bidders in the auction, which included that new companies could participate in the bid,” the Commission said.


“NCC’s auction proceedings conform to international best practice, devoid of any undue influence or interferences whatsoever.


“A higher standard of integrity and openness was emplaced in the 5G auction as the process was, for the first time, witnessed by the public both physically and virtually through a link provided by the Commission on its official website.



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