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NCC to develop regulatory framework for spectrum trading

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The Executive Vice-Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, on Tuesday said it was developing a framework and guidelines for spectrum trading in Nigeria.

Danbatta, represented by Ms Funlola Akiode, the Director, Licensing and Authorisation, made this known in Lagos at the 1st Annual Forum on Engineering and Emerging Technologies in the Communications Industry.

Theme of the forum is: “Framework a For Spectrum Trading in Nigeria’’.

The NCC chief said that Spectrum Trading is spectrum management practice that permits transfer of Spectrum Licence Rights and obligations from one party to another in various forms and scope.

“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.

“Spectrum trading is now seen as a key step to be taken in the reform of spectrum management regulatory practice.

“It eliminates the artificial scarcities of spectrum, which increases the prices of spectrum using services and 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.

“We envisaged that this will bridge the access and service gaps currently existing in certain rural communities which today are either underserved or un-served.’’

Danbatta said that the commission was considering the adoption of Spectrum Trading as a means of enhancing the utilisation of spectrum in Nigeria.

He said that this would enhance the deployment of telecommunications services across the country.

According to him, NCC will further develop additional strategies to meet the increasing demand for spectrum by the operators due to expansion of access to mobile services and improvement of quality services delivered by operators.

“This is in line with the strategic objective of the commission, ensuring that the dynamic industry we regulate is constantly assessed, and appropriate regulatory frameworks provided to guide the industry.

“It is our practice and tradition, and in line with best practices that stakeholders are consulted and engaged in the development and implementation of any regulatory instrument for the industry.

“The Nigerian Communications Act (NCA) 2003 empowers NCC to ensure optimum utilisation of Radio Spectrum for the provision of telecommunications service.

“This will as well provide an enabling environment for the growth and development of the telecommunications industry for the benefits of the stakeholders and consumers of telecommunications services,’’ he said.

Danbatta said that an effective Spectrum Management Policy was critical to support investment in the sector.

He said that the Nigerian telecommunications environment was rapidly expanding and increasing demand for different data services.

This, he said, had put considerable pressure for more spectrums by the operators to deliver services, and enhance quality of services offered.

(NAN)