Home Tech News Nigeria to telcos: Use your frequency spectrum or lose it!

Nigeria to telcos: Use your frequency spectrum or lose it!

Nigeria to telcos: Use your frequency spectrum or lose it!
0

The Nigerian telecoms regulator has threatened to withdraw unused frequency spectrum allotted telecoms licensees across the country.

The directive comes into force after the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) suspended the Spectrum Trading Guidelines 2018 for the Nigerian telecommunications industry, Dr Henry Nkemandu, Director, Public Affairs at the telecoms regulatory agency announced in a statement made available to Technology Times.

The NCC Spectrum Trading Guidelines 2018 had introduced flexibility to options for  frequency transfers among operators which hitherto required the acquirer to buy a spectrum licence by acquiring the company holding the spectrum and obtaining regulatory approval to use the resource.

The Nigerian telecoms regulator says that with the suspension of the Regulations, the use-it-or-lose-it regime is now in force and “should therefore apply in all instances where assigned spectrum is found to be non-utilized or underutilized and ensures unutilised spectrum is fairly traded to facilitate rollout by other operators.”  

Professor Umaru Garba Danbatta speaking to Media Executives at the breakfast meeting in Lagos
Professor Umaru Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, seen speaking to media executives at a breakfast meeting in Lagos

The Nigerian telecoms regulator says that with the suspension of the Regulations, the use-it-or-lose-it regime is now in force and “should therefore apply in all instances where assigned spectrum is found to be non-utilized or underutilized and ensures unutilised spectrum is fairly traded to facilitate rollout by other operators.”  

Nkemandu says that the “Board of Commissioners of the Commission rose from its meeting recently with this position and is informing all licensed telecommunications operators, prospective investors, industry stakeholders and the general public in that regard.”

According to him, the NCC Board “had earlier taken the decision for Spectrum Trading in response to telecommunications global dynamics as well as the efforts to optimally utilize and maximize the benefits of the Spectrum scarce resource.”

According to the telecoms regulator, “spectrum is a scarce commodity which when inefficiently utilized greatly limits broadband coverage and speeds. The current Spectrum Trading Guidelines were developed in 2018 after industry-wide consultations and this instrument allows that the spectrum resource be traded on the Secondary Market through transfer, sharing or leasing upon satisfying stipulated regulatory conditions.” 

The NCC says that the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP) 2020 – 2025 launched by President Muhammadu Buhari in March 2020 “requires that these Guidelines be reviewed to ensure that unutilized spectrum is fairly traded and to facilitate rollout by other operators amongst others.”

The review will address the need for ubiquitous broadband deployment to accelerate penetration and access in line with the economic Agenda of the Federal Government, according to NCC. 

NCC says that “in accordance with the NNBP 2020 – 2025, for optimal use of spectrum, licensees have the obligation of the use it or lose it policy because idle high demand spectrum does a disservice to poorly-served populations and should be released for effective use as may be required to promote efficient use of assigned spectrum.” 

Nkemadu adds that, “in response to the need for the review of these Guidelines as highlighted above, and also following Paragraph 12 of the Spectrum Trading Guidelines, 2018 which vests the Commission with the right to review/vary and modify these Guidelines from time to time as it may deem fit, the Spectrum Trading Guidelines 2018 application in Nigeria is hereby suspended until further notice, as declared by the Board.”

KV Free Directory AD
Technology Times Staff News and Reports from Technology Times Newsroom. Call/SMS/ WhatsApp: +234 815 7000 100

We want to hear from you...