The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has approved frequency spectrum trading among telecoms operators under a plan to grow investment in the sector and boost economic growth of Nigeria, Professor Umar Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman at the telecoms regulatory agency says.
Danbatta disclosed this while presenting his scorecard to media executives in Lagos and says the approval is critical to enhance telecoms service and also support the investment required to expand mobile access across Nigeria.
The nation’s telecoms watchdog explains that spectrum management transactions cover any or all of: Spectrum Transfer, Spectrum Leasing and Spectrum Sharing, in which a Seller trades all or some of its Spectrum License (rights and obligation) to a buyer, following a commercial transaction approved by the Commission.
According to the NCC chief, the approval was a step in the right direction in ensuring optimal usage of spectrum and providing diverse and affordable information and communication technology (ICT) services in the country.
The CEO of the telecoms watchdog also explains that spectrum trading is now seen as a key step to eliminate artificial scarcity, which increases the prices of spectrum-using services and in turn affects the competitiveness of different companies. This will also create avenue for various forms of partnership that will ensure that spectrum is not left unused in any part of the country, he says.
”Without spectrum, there will be no way telecommunication services will be available. The more spectrum the better the service. And that is why the NCC has made it a business of making sure that spectrum is available either through administrative assignment, auctions and through other means that are acceptable to the laws of this land”, Danbatta told audience at the breakfast meeting with top ICT/ Business Editors in Lagos.
”We have recently got the approval of the board of NCC to commence spectrum trading in the industry. The spectrum trading consist of spectrum leasing, spectrum transfer and spectrum sharing. NCC realises that we do have spectrum with some operators and are not being used to provide services and this framework that has just being approved by the board of NCC will facilitate the effective use of spectrum by operators”, Danbatta says.
While also presenting his progress report Prof Danbatta reiterated its commitment to achieving the 30 percent broadband penetration target of the National Broadband Implementation Plan by 2018.
”You are aware that facilitation of broadband penetration in the country is the number one agenda item and flagship of our 8-Point Agenda. The potentials in broadband penetration are enormous which explains why the entire global community is investing huge resources to exploit and assimilate broadband that is expected to guide global economic index of development in the future”, he adds.
According to him, a World Bank study has concluded that a 10 percent increase in fixed broadband penetration would increase GDP growth by 1.2 percent in Developed Economies and 1.38 percent in Developing countries.
He underscores the clamour for deployment of broadband and that NCC is not relenting in leading Nigeria to that destination of pervasive broadband services. Within the threshold of the third year of the five year 8-Point Agenda, NCC has made satisfactory progress towards realising the objectives of the agenda especially as it relates to broadband penetration, he adds.
According to Danbatta, “a major milestone was achieved recently with the licensing of four infracos. The infracos licenses are based on the NCC’s open access model in line with the National Broadband Plan. Licenses are being processed for South South, South West and North West Zones.
“With a combination of licences for infrastructure provisioning and spectrum auctions and refarming of some of the existing spectrum to make them more efficient, we hope to attain the recommendation of the National Broadband Plan and possibly surpass it by the end of 2018”, the regulator says.