Dr. Musbahu Mohammad Bashir, Althani Group Chairman owns Mafab Communications Limited, the newcomer tech firm squaring up against two mobile giants in the Nigeria 5G auction holding today in Abuja.
On December 1, when the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) announced MTN Nigeria Limited, Airtel Networks Ltd, and Mafab Communications Ltd, as the three final successful bidders in today’s 5G auction, the entry of the newbie Mafab sparked more than passing interest.
Today, the three bidders are set for the historic race for the soul of 5G in Nigeria as they bid for two licences on offer by NCC at the Hilton Hotel in Abuja, the same venue where MTN and Airtel had in 2001 won digital mobile licences to launch commercial operations in the country.
MTN, Airtel, and Mafab will today compete cash-for-cash for only two licence slots offered for sale at a $197.4 million reserve price by NCC. They will vie to win the two 2.3GHz spectrum band slots for the deployment of 5G services in Nigeria starting from 2022.
5G: Who is Dr Musbahu Mohammad Bashir, the Man Behind Mafab Communications Limited?
Mafab is one of the technology subsidiaries of Althani Group owned by Dr Musbahu Mohammad Bashir.
Bashir is Chairman of Althani Group of Companies, and Cobalt International Services Limited since 2004, according to his bio-data reviewed by Technology Times has vast experience of over two decades in General Management, Leadership, and Engineering. He has attained several certifications from high-profile institutions like American University, London, Harvard Business School, USA.
Bashir who holds a Board seat in Jaiz Bank Plc “based on a major investment made in the first non–interest Bank in Nigeria” is also a Director in the following companies: Bento Drill Nigeria Limited, Offshore Technologies International Limited, and Resource Capital Group, has worked with Hammad Development Facilities and Jadai Diversified Services.
Apart from being a Board Member of Jaiz Bank, is also a keen promoter of the Takaful insurance model through his Salsalam Takaful Insurance that is headquartered in Kano State envisioned to be “the Takaful operator of ‘First Choice’ in Nigeria” by promoting Takaful, a type of Islamic insurance where members contribute money into a pool system to guarantee each other against loss or damage based on the Islamic doctrine that individuals are responsible to cooperate and protect one another.
Althani Investment, the private equity firm of the Althani Group “provides financial backing and makes investments in the private equity of startup or operating companies through a variety of affiliated investment strategies including leveraged buyout, venture capital, and growth capital.”
Apart from its diversified interest across several industries, Bashir’s Althani Group technology business subsidiaries like Mafab Communications Limited, Malband Communications Limited and Data Analytical Platforms Limited.
Althani Group: The Technology Businesses Units
Mafab Communications Limited was incorporated to transact the business of Information Technology Services and Telecommunications. It is licensed to provide and operate International Data Access Services Gateway Service.
Mafab Communications Limited, which provides International Gateway for interconnection of Voice, Video and Data Service termination between parties and also provides a platform for worldwide Interconnectivity extends its footprints into IT services, internet services products, internet cafes, hardware and software and software procurements, database development and management systems analysts, computer programmers and computer operators, carry on the business of installation, maintenance, repairs and service of computers and electronic products, among others.
Malband Communications Limited, which carries out ICT Consultancy services, e-Learning, research, data processing and statistical analysis is also licensed by NCC for Value Added Services (VAS).
Its VAS business extends into Entertainment, Marketing, Advertising, Call Centre services, among others.
On the other hand, Data Analytical Platforms Limited is engaged in Internet content development, networking, maintenance, and servicing of computers and contract, artificial intelligence (AI), software development, system manufacturing or a assembly, website development and internet service provider (ISP), IT solution providers and computer business service, among others.
Althani Group’s business interests are in several diversified subsidiaries in technology, real estate, aviation, oil and gas that has seen the group spin-off Pelican Air Services Limited, Cryogenic Industries Limited, Clearview Apartments, Data Analytical Platforms Limited, Eman Homes & Estate and Althani Investment Limited and Takaful Insurance. Others include Mafab Communications Limited, Malband Communications Limited, Holborn Oil & Gas International, Althani Oil and Gas Limited, and Althani Shelters Limited.
NCC: 5G Auction Will Mark Turning Point for Nigeria
Meanwhile, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, NCC Public Affairs Director announced weekend that the three bidders participated in a successful mock auction held Friday to prepare for today’s main auction
With the stage set for the successful bidders to pick their prized 5G licences at the end of today’s auction, Adinde says that “the auction on Monday will mark a turning point in Nigeria’s determination to harness the benefits of 5G for the nation’s socio-economic growth, as the concrete roll-out of 5G commences in 2022.”
NCC says it is adopting a software-based Ascending Clock Auction System to ensure an open, credible, transparent and fair competitive bid by the three companies.
Adinde says that NCC started the 5G auction process in the last quarter of 2021 “and had, since then, carried out a number of activities ahead of the Main Auction.”
On October 7, 2021, the Commission had published the Draft Information Memorandum (IM) on the auction of the 5G spectrum on its website, www.ncc.gov.ng, and issued a public notice in major channels, including print, electronic, and new digital media, he says adding that comments on the draft IM were received by the Commission up until October 28, 2021.
Following this, on November 3, 2021, “the Commission held a stakeholders’ engagement forum in Lagos at which comments received from a broad segment of stakeholders, including the major operators, were exhaustively discussed and considered.”
According to Adinde, on November 10, 2021,NCC published the Final IM, and Stakeholders’ comments arising from the stakeholders’ engagement on its website and the national dailies, and set the deadline for the submission of bids on Wednesday, November 24, 2021.
“As a responsive regulator, the Commission also proceeded to accommodate concerns raised by some stakeholders, due to social disruptions, and extended the date for submission of the bidding applications to Wednesday, November 24, 2021 to Monday, November 29, 2021”, he adds.
On December 1, 2021, “NCC announced the three companies – MTN Nigeria Limited, Mafab Communications Ltd, and Airtel Networks Ltd – as having successfully submitted their bids in line with the requirements of the IM.”
NCC, Adinde adds, “wishes to thank all stakeholders for all the support, collaboration and partnership they have offered to get to this stage, and implores all stakeholders not to rest on their oars until the bidding processes are concluded successfully. Thereafter, the Commission, as it has now become its culture, will rally stakeholders into the next phase of the implementation of the 5G policy.”