Stakeholders at the 1st Annual Forum on Engineering and Emerging Technologies in the communications industry organized by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) have canvassed strongly that Nigeria is ripe for liberalized spectrum trading.
In his opening address the Executive Vice Chairman NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, who was represented by Funlola Akiode, Director Licencing and Authorization, NCC stated that the event has been designed to be an annual event and this year is focused on “Spectrum Trading in Nigeria”, while the Commission seeks the active participation of stakeholders in the discussions that would lead to the developing of the Framework and Guidelines to guide the industry.
“The Nigerian Communications Act (NCA) 2003 empowers it to ensure Optimum utilization of Radio Spectrum for the provision of telecommunications service as well as provide an enabling environment for the growth and development of the telecoms industry for the benefits of the stakeholders and consumers of telecommunications services.
“This forum of today, designed to be interactive will focus on the introduction of a secondary market for Spectrum, known as Spectrum Trading in Nigeria,” he said.
“Spectrum trading in Nigeria is now seen as a key step to be taken in the reform of spectrum management regulatory practice eliminating the artificial scarcities of spectrum which increases the prices of spectrum using services and the 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 unserved,” he added.
To address the objectives and enhance the deployment of telecommunications services across the country, he said the Commission is considering the adoption of Spectrum Trading as a means of enhancing the utilization of spectrum in Nigeria.
Engr Austin Nwalulune Director, Spectrum Administration, NCC said that what the Commission is looking at this spectrum trading is to ensure that people have the liberty to enter into a kind of arrangement, but they should know that there is no spectrum called rural spectrum and there is no spectrum called urban spectrum.
“If today you have designated one and today you have licenced MTN, Airtel and so on to provide services and they provided service in the urban leaving the rural the spectrum they are sitting on is fallow and tomorrow if you say you want to give a spectrum to the rural, the choice spectrum would be used in the rural area and will be fallow in the urban because the operator who has it for rural is not permitted to allow the one in the urban to use it.
“So the essence of spectrum trading is that it brings flexibility in use, so that we will be able to deliver service to everybody in this country irrespective of where they are without breaching our liberalization policy and ensuring that our people have services,” he explained.