By Cyber Era Staff
Telecommunications sector referee, the Nigerian Communications Commission(NCC), used the occasion of the recent virtual forum Meeting the Interests of Government, Consumers and Telecoms Companies in the era of COVID-19 and post COVID-19 pandemic for Digital Economy, to provide telecommunications stakeholders with a heads-up on spectrum utilization intitiatives embarked upon by the Commission.
On hand to do this was the Executive Vice Chairman /CEO of the Commission, Professor Umar Garba Danbatta, who was special guest at the webinar held via zoom and other social media platforms.
According to Prof. Danbatta, spectrum re-planning was carried out on 800MHz previously held by CDMA operators while 1800 MHz was refarmed for the provisioning of LTE (otherwise called 4G). Danbatta stated that 14 slots of the 2.6GHz spectrum was auctioned while administrative assignment of two slots of 10MHz in the 700 MHz was carried out. Also, the EVC/CEO at the NCC stated that commercial satellite space segment providers footprints received a boost with 55 issued landing permits even as his Commission was in the process of issuing lastmile satellite operators license to provide broadband services.
A top telecoms regulator from Micronesia, Robert Abbil had argued on our platform on WhatsApp @Cyber Era Magazine, that “some frequency required for vertical industries are held by the satellite industry,” although Abbil’s focus was the global industry as he was not speaking strictly to the Nigerian situation.
The NCC’s Frequency Management Policy Objectives are as follows:
- To control and encourage the use of spectrum as an instrument for developing telecommunication (being) which is an essential infrastructure for stimulating the economic growth and social development of the nation.
- To promote competition in the assignment of frequency in order to ensure innovative and efficient use of the radio spectrum (as a scarce resource).
- To achieve optimum pricing of spectrum in order to discourage wastage or speculative acquisition of the scarce resource.
- To generate moderate revenue for government.
- To ensure equitable and fair allocation of spectrum to benefit the maximum number of users.
To achieve this goal, the NCC establishes policies in line with its mandate, which govern the following key frequency management functions;
- Spectrum Planning: Plan the spectrum under NCC’s control in order to make adequate provision for various services based on their relative importance to Nigeria’s socio-economic goals and also make forecast for future requirements.
- Frequency Assignment: Evolve fair, equitable and transparent procedures and conditions for the allocation and assignment of spectrum.
- Spectrum Farming: Continually and systematically phase out ageing technologies in order to free up new spectrum space for allocation to emerging technologies and new services.
- Licensing: Develop effective rules, operational procedures/guidelines for the purpose of regulating the use of spectrum in order to encourage sharing and ensure minimum interference with other users.
- Technical Specifications: Define technical utilization rules and specifications for radio frequency equipment and also administer equipment type approval and authorizations.
- Enforcement: Impose fines, penalties and sanctions for any violation of spectrum rules in order to maintain discipline in the use of spectrum.
- Monitoring: Monitor the use of spectrum for interference and occupancy levels in order to take corrective actions when necessary and to provide 3 information feedback for planning, management control and decision-making.
- Consultation: Hold regular consultation with experts in the industry including consultants and members of the academia in order to draw from their wealth of field experience and research findings in the area of spectrum management.
- Liaison: Maintain close liaison with all stakeholders in the industry including operators, other regulating bodies, Manufacturers, MOC, ITU, Professional Groups, security agencies and the general public in the spirit of participatory regulation.
- Tariff and Pricing: Determine fees payable for spectrum and evolve effective machinery for its collection.