By Tare Youdeowei & Yinka Ajayi
At the Telecom Executives and Regulators Forum, organised by the Association of Telecoms Companies of Nigeria, ATCON, in Lagos, the Nigeria Communications Commission, NCC, disclosed its plan to auction 2.5/2.6 GHz spectrum and 700 MHz for 4G LTE coverage requirements, as well as assign high-capacity 70/80 GHz spectrum bands in its bid to boost operators’ ability to provide broadband services without affecting quality of service.
This was made known by the Executive Chairman, NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, represented by the Deputy Director, Technical Services, Mr. Bako Wakili, in line with the theme of the event, Removing Barriers to Growth and Innovation.
His words; “NCC looks improve the spectrum capacity by opening up and assigning other spectrum bands in an open and transparent manner. Optimal deployment of broadband infrastructure through the Infraco model in the face of existing challenges is critical to driving broadband availability, accessibility and affordability in the country.
“The industry model for Nigeria is open access model, which is adopted for the peculiar Nigerian market. Initially, the Infraco would only play in layer 1B, which is metro dark fibre, and layer 2 which is active infrastructure layer, of the broadband ecosystem. However, for the good of the market InfraCos will play in every segment of the value chain and use regulatory tools such as accounting separation to discourage, mitigate, punish cross subsidisation.
“NCC will continue to support high-speed broadband connectivity to end users through licensing InfraCos on a regional basis to provide metropolitan fibre and wholesale transmission services on a non-discriminatory, open access and price regulated basis,” the EVC said.
Danbatta added that the move is born out of the knowledge that the availability of broadband infrastructure will unlock new opportunities and drive a second wave of growth in the telecommunications industry, as well as the economy after the exponential growth of voice service.
The event also featured the maiden edition of the Nigeria Tech Innovation and Telecom Awards 2017 where President of ATCON, Olusola Teniola revealed that the aim of the awards is to foster competition amongst telcos. “Due to the immense investment in Nigeria’s telecommunication sector, it is only apt that we foster competition among players to increase service delivery and remove non performers. This invariably means we are encouraging innovation and investment in the sector.”
The awards featured Customer Initiative Project of the year, bagged by NCC, 4G award of the year, Customers Experience Award, Innovative Project of the year, Mobile Operator of the year all received by MTN. Vodacom got the Telecom Business of the year award, while Airtel bagged the CSR Initiative award of the year. Techno won the most popular phone brand of the year, just as Techno Canon CS was awarded the smart phone of the year, among others.