Close-up: Mafab Comms, the dark horse that beat Airtel to Nigeria’s 5G licence

December 14, 2021
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On Monday, Mafab Communications Limited challenged MTN Nigeria and Airtel Nigeria in an auction by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for the licence of fifth-generation (5G) networks. 

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In a twist of event, Airtel Nigeria, a top telecom company, dropped out of the race as the 5G spectrum reached $275.9 million at the 11th round.

NCC conducted the 5G spectrum auction with a reserve price of $197.4 million for two lots of spectrum in the 3.5GHz band. 

Mafab later emerged as the second winner of the 5G licence at the assignment stage.

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MAFAB: THE TELECOMS’ DARK HORSE

Mafab Communications was incorporated on the 8th of July, 2020, and licensed by the NCC to provide and operate Local Interconnect and International carrier services.

The company operates under three licenses, including interconnecting exchange, international data access, and value-added services, providing cloud hosting or co-location services.

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

According to details on its website, “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.” 

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The group’s subsidiaries include Eman Homes and Estate, Althani Investment, Salam Takaful Insurance, Malband Communications Limited, Holborn Oil and Gas international, Althani Oil and Gas Limited, Althani Shelters Limited, Pelican Air Services Limited, Cryogenic Industries Limited, Clearview Apartments, and Mafab Communications. 

MEET MUSBAHU BASHIR, THE HARDWORKING BUSINESSMAN BEHIND MAFAB 

Musbahu Muhammad Bashir 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.

The business magnate is also a director at Bento Drill Nigeria Limited, Offshore Technologies International Limited, and Resource Capital Group.

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At Jaiz bank, a Nigerian bank operating under Islamic banking principles and a non-interest bank, Bashir also serves as a member, board of directors.

He is the chairman, board of directors of Salam Takaful Insurance, a subsidiary of Althani group of companies, headquartered in Kano State.

The insurance firm was incorporated in 2016 — operating both family and general Takaful Insurance as well as retail Takaful line of business with a wide range of products.

Takaful is a sharia law-compliant insurance structure in which members agree to provide insurance for one another by contributing to a pool of funds that are used to recompense participants who suffer a loss.

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Bashir worked with Hammad Development Facilities in 1987 and Jadai Diversified Services in 1989.

Bashir has vast experience of more than twenty years in general management, leadership, and engineering, according to details on the company’s website.

He has attained several certifications from high-profile institutions, including American University, London, and Harvard Business School, USA.

In a post, the Althani Group describes Bashir as undoubtedly a hardworking, resilient, and effective businessman with a strong personality.

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