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‘Nigeria’s telecoms sector is spectrum-hungry’


Telecom SubscribersTHOUGH, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is upbeat about auctioning more spectrum for improved telecommunications services in the country, MTN Nigeria has said that the sector is eager to have more spectrum for its use.

At a media chat in Lagos, on Monday, MTN Nigeria’s Corporate Service Executive, Akinwale Goodluck, said the country’s telecommunications sector is spectrum hungry. He stressed that spectrum remains the oxygen of telecommunications business across the globe.

Speaking on the backdrop of recent postponement, for the second time, the auctioning of the 2.6GHz spectrum in Nigeria by the NCC, Goodluck said the telecommunications firm was optimistic that the regulator would do the auctioning soonest.    “As much as we are confident about NCC on the issue, we want the spectrum sooner than later.

We are sure that NCC wants to get it done properly. We are confident that when the NCC is ready and has sorted out the issues, the spectrum and auction will happen.“Going by past experience, NCC has demonstrated that it knows how and when to auction spectrum.

So, we believe that the regulator is working on that and at the appropriate time, they will come out with the auction process. Beyond that, getting more spectrum will be an opportunity to improve and expand our services”, he stated.

The MTN Nigeria’s Corporate Service Executive, agreed that the postponement of the 2.6GHz would certainly affects the country’s 30 per cent broadband penetration target for 2018, “but we are confident that as soon as NCC resumes plan for the auction, things will take shape and the target will be realized.”

On quality of service (QoS), Goodluck said there is stability, because operators are doing lots of works on their networks.He disclosed that the industry and NCC have agreed on a stagard model for improvement in QoS, which is more in tuned with engineering and network roll out realities.

Commenting on the issue of spectrum auction postponement last week, a top official of NCC, who spoke to The Guardian, but doesn’t want to be quoted, had said that the Digital Dividends are not yet available, and so NCC cannot assign what it does not have.

“It is also true that the 2.6 GHz has had two postponements. The NCC wants to get it right. Recall that in 2001 after the Digital Mobile Licence (DML) auction, Communication Investment Ltd (CIL) one of the winners did not pay for the licence because the Frequency allocated to CIL was believed to be encumbered and it lost the licence and the deposit for same.

“So the NCC wants to clear any foreseeable cobwebs before such a major licence round like the 2.6GHz.Indeed, this licensing round is work in progress”, he stated.

The NCC official disclosed that the telecoms regulator has announced the availability of 5.4 GHz spectrum, across the 36 states of the federation, stressing that there are advertisements about this and that applications are already being received at the commission.

He informed that the commission was already putting things in place in line with the imputs of stakeholders and industry players. He said the commission will fine tune the document and release the rules for the bidding process very soon.

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