NCC Seeks Stakeholders Input on Framework For Spectrum Trading

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(Last Updated On: 2016-11-30)

Nahimah Ajikanle Nurudeen

The Nigerian Communications Commission, (NCC) is considering regulatory framework for spectrum trading in Nigeria to ensure effective utilisation frequency as scarce national resources.

This according to the telecommunications sector regulator informed its decision to hold this year annual one day industry stakeholders consultative forum on Spectrum Trading in Nigeria.

The event which took place at Sheraton Hotels, Ikeja Lagos on Tuesday was aimed at seeking inputs from players in the sector on the draft regulatory framework on Spectrum Trading being considered by the NCC.
Speaking at the event, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta said the commission is planning to review spectrum management policy.
According to him, this come with its NCC’s quest to develop strategies to meet the increasing demand for spectrum by the operators due to expansion of access to mobile services and improvement of quality services in Nigeria.
The EVC who was represented by the NCC, Director Licencing and Authorisation, Ms Funlola Akiode said, “An effective spectrum management policy is critical to support the investment in the sector required to expand mobile access. The Nigerian telecoms environment is rapidly expanding and increasing demand for different data services have put considerable pressure for more spectrum by the operators to deliver services as well as enhance quality of services offered.
“The objectives of the Commission’s spectrum management policy depends on the market circumstances, how the available spectrum is currently used, the competitiveness of the market and the risk to investment and service quality as the market grows”.
He said spectrum trading permits transfer of Spectrum license rights and obligations from one party to another in various forms and scope after a commercial transaction duly approved by the Commission.
He said it is basically a secondary mechanism of assigning spectrum with the capability of unlocking the potential of new technologies and reducing barriers to new entrants in the industry.
Also, the Global System For Mobile Association (GSMA), Senior Director Policy Engagement, Mr Fraser Graham in a presentation on ‘Global trend /spectrum trading in developing economies’, described spectrum trading is a buying and selling transaction which doesn’t really required stiff regulations.
He said spectrum trading is subject to competition law and  facilitates greater competition among major players in the market as well as provides incentives for innovation for better services.
He maintained that spectrum trading will drive more investment and address the challenges of network congestion.
Meanwhile, the former Director, Office of Communications (Ofcom), United Kingdom, Prof Sama Nwana, applauded NCC for it’s efforts on regulations saying that spectrum trading is a welcome development to further position Nigeria’s ICT for global best practices.
According to him, spectrum pricing is quite important but, advised NCC to make it simple to avoid frequency hoarding.
However, Chairman of Open Media and the former EVC of NCC, Mr Ernest Ndukwe cautioned NCC against over regulation small operators because they need to catch up with the big players.
He said, “If NCC use the same standard of regulation for MTN and the same for smaller operators, they will just die. Sometimes, regulators purposely limit the amount of regulatory interventions, they made on  operators especially smaller ones.”

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