News Column

NCC Urged to Review Spectrum Licence Allocation

August 29, 2014

Henry Ifeanyi

STAKEHOLDERS if the local telecommunications sector have advised the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC)to adopt the regional licensing approach in the sale of country's spectrum license.

They believe this would create room for more players and improved deployment phase.

The stakeholders gave the advise in Lagos at a forum organised by the NCC to seek inputs on the best approach to adopt in the sales of the available spectrum licenses.

Speaking at the event, Chidi Ibisi, Chief Marketing Officer, Broadbased Communications, said that Regionalization of the licencing as the way forward would boost chances of local companies participation and help in building capacities.

He said that this had been the primary focus of the Omobola Johnson-led Ministry of Communication Technology.

Engineer Bayo Banjo, President of Nigeria Internet Group (NIG), said the industry should learn from past experience that allocation of licences on national basis had not alleviated the broadband penetration challenges.

According to him, national frequency allocation has caused more harms than good, creating hiccups for organizations during deployment and recouping of investments hard to attain.

He opined that such practice can become viable if the bidders and eventual winners are meant to sign agreement to cover the 36 States and the FCT, and no redundancy in spectrum utilization in any of the States.

Aremu Olajide, head of Network Operations, Globacom, said NCC should work towards ensuring that organisations with pedigree in spectrum administration were given opportunity to manage the scarce resources for the best interest of the nation's broadband availability and affordability plans.

He urged NCC not to depart from the objectives of these programmes centered on deepening competition and improve broadband penetration in the Country.

Engineer Lanre Ajayi, President, Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), applauded the sense of seeking stakeholders' views on the process but sought to know why close to 30 companies expressed interest during the sale of 2.3GHz band earlier in the year, but only two went ahead to bid.

He urged NCC to review the process and ensure business viability.

According to him, most organizations might become skeptical about the bidding should NCC fail to declare its intentions on time, citing the sale of 2.6GHz few months after the 2.3GHz as unpalatable for ventures.

Ajayi said he believed in spectrum trading, where a company with either a National or a Regional Licence could have the leverage of selling the same to another company without been queried by the NCC.

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Source: AllAfrica

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