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3 Winners Announced Today for Digital Mobile Licences in Nigeria (Posted 19th Jan, 2001) Tell your friends about this page! Email it to them. 

The Nigerian Digital Mobile Licence auction ended today in Abuja, the nationís capital with three of the five bidders grabbing the three remaining Licences. The final price was USD$285,000,000 (28.5 billion Naira).

The three winners are:

  • Communication Investments Limited
  • Econet Wireless Nigeria Limited
  • MTN Nigeria Communications Limited

Communications Investments Limited, CIL is a Nigerian company has Dr Mike Adenuga Jr. as its arrowhead and also has Devcom Merchant Bank, Equatorial Bank with Detecon of Germany has technical partners. It already has an installed but yet to be operational GSM system.

Econet Wireless Nigeria Limited will be part of the Econet family with substantial presence in the communications sector in Zimbabwe. Other participants are First Independent Networks and Transnet. 

MTN Nigeria Communications Limited has MTN South Africa as a major partner. MTN South Africa is a major South African company. As at 1999, its GSM network covered 650,000 square kilometres of the country. Other partners are Equitinvest Limited and Muhammed Sani Bello (Col Rtd).

The two companies that lost out in the bidding process are United Networks Mobile Limited and MSI-Celtel Nigeria Limited.

With this final price of USD$285 million for each of the four Licences on offer, the Nigerian Government will be USD$1.1 billion (110 billion Naira) richer. The fourth Licence went to the state-owned NITEL/M-TEL. The amount realised far outstripped the USD$150-200 million that most analysts and observers believed the final auction price would be. In a letter signed by the Chief Executive of the Nigerian Communications Commission, Engineer Ernest Ndukwe, the commission acknowledged this much:

"The Government has raised over USD $1 billion, more than twice the original budget expected. Consequently the Government will be able to use the funds raised for the public benefit".

He further added that the state-owned NITEL/M-TEL telecoms company will also pay have to pay the USD$285 million despite being government parastatals. It will, however soon be privatised. He went on to say that the commission is aware of Nigeriansí concern that the cost of the Licences could mean higher final prices for the consumers. He assured that this would not be the case as there will be keen competition with four operators in the market coupled with the fact that the winners have considerable experience in this sector.

The successful companies are expected to commence their operations within 90 days of the granting of the Licences.

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