From Adanna Nnamani, Abuja
In a strategic move to deepen digital economy, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) says it has commenced the process of deploying Fifth Generation (5G) technology in the nation.
According to NCC’s Executive Vice Chairman, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta all was set for the process and the Commission was awaiting Federal government’s approval to begin the deployment soon.
Danbatta also disclosed that the Commission was in the process of amending its two major regulatory laws; the Annual Operating Levy Regulations (AOL) and the Frequency Spectrum (Fees and Pricing, etc.) Regulations to help in strengthening and ensuring a fair and competitive telecoms market in Nigeria.
Speaking at a public inquiry organized by the Commission in Abuja on Thursday, Danbatta said the first instrument on AOL ensures that all licensees are properly and equitably assessed for the operating levy as well as meeting both statutory and regulatory expectations. He explained that the review is expected to bring the regulations in line with current realities and sustain the enviable contributions of the communications sector to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
According to him, the second regulatory instrument, which is the frequency spectrum fee and pricing enables the Commission to meet its sole and exclusive mandate as enshrined in Section 21 of the Nigerian Communications Act (NCA), 2003 by assigning the scarce national resource in an equitable manner.
He said the regulations also guarantee that frequency spectrum is assigned and managed in a way that ensures fair pricing and efficient deployment of attendant services.
“This public inquiry not only reflects the Commission’s strategic mission and vision to promote regulatory excellence through effective regulatory processes but also signposts the Commission’s consultative approach to all its regulatory initiatives.
“The public inquiry is a precursor to the Commission’s current drive for efficiency in spectrum management and the unveiling of next generation services through varied enablers. It was in this regard that the Commission issued a Spectrum Trading Guidelines (STG) in 2018, to make frequency Spectrum readily available to licensees through an effective process.
“Furthermore, the Commission has commenced the process of deployment of Fifth Generation (5G) technology in Nigeria, the success of which largely depends on the appropriate frequency spectrum. The efficacy and reliability of the initiatives will be hinged on proper market valuation of the frequency spectrum and fair assessment of levies,” the NCC boss revealed.
According to Danbatta, the explosion in technologies, has also been an attendant secondary reliance on different approaches to maximise frequency spectrum. He said this has led to the need for designation of several bands of frequency spectrum for communications services and a key illustration is the recent identification of some Spectrum frequencies for 5G deployment.
The EVC said the Commission is conscious of the expectations and the need to ensure that the required regulatory frameworks are in place to meet these challenges. He noted that this has made the reviews which the Commission is conducting an important milestone as the public inquiry was pushing the country to the front queue of this global effort.