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NCC to boost mobile broadband with 70/80GHz bands’ auction


THE Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is considering another frequency licensing in the 70/80GHz spectrum bands.

   Though, the NCC has set aside March 12, 2015 to engage industry stakeholders on the viability of the auction in Lagos, information gathered by The Guardian, Wednesday, showed that from the studies carried out by the commission the purpose of the licensing was in line with global best practices.

    The 70/80 GHz band (widely known as the “e-band”) is available throughout most of the world for high capacity point-to-point communications. The E-band provides a cost effective alternative for high-speed network backhaul applications.

   According to findings by The Guardian, the National Frequency Management Council (NFMC) had allocated 71-74 GHz/81-84 GHz spectrum bands to the commission, which by so doing makes available a total of 3GHz bandwidth Frequency Division Duplex (FDD).

   By the proposed plan, there is 2.875GHz bandwidth in each of the uplink and the downlink, as well as guard band of 125 MHz at both ends of the bands.

   The Guardian learnt that the commission, through its Spectrum Management Unit is already working to determine channel arrangement and technical specifications for the E-band; licensing scheme/framework for the band and the price of E-band spectrum suitable to the country’s local environment.

     Further findings by The Guardian on the need for the E-band licensing in Nigeria by the NCC, was that advances in mobile broadband has changed consumer habits with mobile web surfing, emailing and other advanced data services becoming routine; mobile broadband is leading to a dramatic exponential increase in the traffic/data capacity.

    Others are that the cellular networks worldwide are experiencing an overwhelming growth of mobile subscribers that is leading to an ever-growing capacity in demand and that from the global trends, mobile operators worldwide are turning to the E-band spectrum, especially the 71-76GHz, 81-86GHz bands to enhance and streamline their backhaul options.  

    Studies have shown that apart from the fact that the 70/80 GHz E-band is highly directional, it supports an extremely high degree of frequency reuse; requires minimal frequency coordination, which allows links to be deployed close to one another without interference.

    Besides, it accommodates links up to six kilometer and more in some cases, but typically an average of 1.5km.

     According to NCC, some of the areas of application of the 70/80GHz E-band include but not limited to fiber extension and complement; support Transmission Network Diversity; enterprise/campus connectivity; Local Area Network (LAN) extension; Last mile connectivity; Metropolitan Area Network (MAN); Wide Area Network (WAN); data base interconnection and wireless backhaul.

 Some of the benefits the commission will be championing with the opening of E-bands spectrum include to promote socio-economic benefits through the enhancement of broadband service delivery; release of part of the spectrum between six and 23 GHz bands, which can then be used to support links with relatively longer ranges; utilization of a currently virgin spectrum band; efficient utilization of available spectrum resource and above all bring in moderate revenue for the government. 



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