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Adopting ‘progressive’ spectrum pathway for increased connectivity

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Spectrum is beyond the lifeblood of the telecommunications industry, it is the lifeblood of the economy. The more spectrum is licensed, that’s how things will be deployed and how mobility will be enabled. Connectivity for enterprises is mostly going to be wireless. So, mobility is the key for everything. Against this backdrop, that the GSM Association (GSMA) warns that poorly designed assignments have the potential to cause more harm than good.

The GSMA indicated this in its paper titled “Auction Best Practice”, highlighting some key concerns from recent 4G and 5G spectrum awards globally and offering recommendations to help governments guarantee affordable, high-quality mobile connectivity from spectrum awards.

In the paper, the GSMA noted auctions have become the dominant mobile spectrum assignment mechanism over the past three decades. They were designed to provide a transparent, impartial and legally robust means of assigning spectrum to those who will use it most efficiently to support competitive, high-quality mobile services. Alternative approaches like administrative awards and lotteries have generally proved less able to assign spectrum in an efficient, impartial and legally robust way.

However, the organisation said, the benefits of auctions can be lost when they are not properly planned.Some auctions have failed to assign spectrum despite it being in demand, while others have been contested for artificially inflating prices, which risk harm to consumers.

Some have led to claims they are biased in favour of some operators, or for not preventing strategic behaviour, leading to inefficient spectrum distribution. This means effective auction design has become vital to delivering the best possible mobile services, the paper highlights.

Gbenga Adebayo, chairman, association Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) said that spectrum licensing will help to achieve the 70 percent broadband penetration target, but policy will do more towards the targeted 70 percent penetration by 2021.He said that granting multiple operational licenses to operators does not guarantee investment in that regard, but implementation of well -articulated policies that will encourage operators to invest their money.

He said Government must go beyond granting of licenses to eliminating those barriers such as bottlenecks in securing ‘right of way’, impediments to smooth network operations- where operators are forced to pay levies that are not legalized, and vandalisation.

According to OladipoRaji, president/CEO, InfraFocus Technologies, “If you have 10 spectrum slots and concentrate it on one operator it will hinder growth of the economy as against spreading it among operators that will use it to deliver services.

“In deploying infrastructure for service delivery means economic growth in different sectors of the economy that requires telecommunications services to function optimally.

“For spectrum to be utilized optimally, Government needs to create the market, if there are no market opportunities, anti-competition practice will creep in. They have to create level playing environment with the right laws as well support small operators to survive in the space.


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