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NCC to Auction 5G Spectrum- Danbatta

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On 5G, the World Will Move on Without Nigeria, By Okoh Aihe

The Nigerian Communications Commission says it will auction the Fifth Generation Technology (5G) spectrum by the Fourth Quarter (Q4) of 2021.

Executive Vice-Chairman of the NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, disclosed this at the maiden International Conference on Information and Engineering Systems on Thursday at Nile University, Abuja.

Danbatta, represented by NCC Director of Technical Standard, Mr. Bako Wakil, noted that for the process of the allocation auctioning, assigning and commercialisation of 5G spectrum to be seamless and successful, the Federal Government must provide an enabling environment.

READ ALSO: On 5G, the World Will Move on Without Nigeria, By Okoh Aihe

“The government will provide an enabling environment for 5G deployment, but the MNOs will determine their own deployment strategies, subject to alignment with approved policies and other regulatory instruments in force.
“Securing spectrum for 5G is an antecedent for any operator to commit serious investment to 5G infrastructure.

Prof Danbatta stressed that “This makes it imperative for the spectrum allocation and assignment process to be concluded as early as possible.

According to him, the following timeline is proposed as optimal in the policy document 5G Spectrum Allocation (Q2 2021), 5G Spectrum Auction (Q4 2021), 5G Spectrum Assignment (Q1 2022), and Commercialisation of 5G Spectrum (Q4 2022).

READ ALSO: Britain To Ban Installation of Huawei 5G kit Beginning September 2021

The EVC, who spoke on the topic “5G Deployment: Catalyst for Digital Transformation in Nigeria,” noted that researches and tests had been carried out on the hazardous impact of electromagnetic emissions from 5G and that they were far below the minimum required standard.

He, however, expressed optimism that 5G indeed was a catalyst for digital transformation in Nigeria and around the world, as it would digitalise and greatly impact the economy of the country.

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NCC Sets Up Annual Operating Regulatory Levy For Telecom Operators

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NCC Sets Up Annual Operating Regulatory Levy For Telecom Operators
Prof. Umar Danbatta, Executive Vice-Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission

The Nigerian Communications Commission has set up an annual operating regulatory levy to ensure that all licenses are properly and equitably assessed to meet statutory and regulatory expectations.

This was disclosed by Prof. Umar Danbatta, Executive Vice-Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, during the Public Inquiry on two regulatory instruments draft held on Thursday in Abuja.

Danbatta explained that the two key regulatory instruments were tailored to meet the challenges and to further strengthen the market structure of the industry.

READ ALSO: NCC to Auction 5G Spectrum- Danbatta

The instruments are; Annual Operating Regulations and the Frequency Spectrum Regulations, which fees and pricing fall under.

“The first instrument will bring the regulations in line with current realities and sustain the enviable contributions of the communications sector to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

“The second instrument is a vehicle that enables the commission to meet its role and exclusive mandate in Section 121 of the Nigerian Communications Act 2003 by assigning this scarce national resource in an equitable manner.

“The regulations also ensure that frequency spectrum are assigned and managed in a way that ensures fair pricing and efficient deployment of attendant services.

“The public inquiry is a precursor to the commission’s current drive to ensure efficiency in spectrum management and unveiling of next-generation services through varied enablers.

The EVC said that the Commission had begun the process of deploying Fifth Generation (5G) technology in Nigeria, which largely depended on the appropriate frequency spectrum.

With the explosion in technologies, Danbatta said there was also an attendant secondary reliance on different approaches to maximize frequency spectrum.

He said this led to the need for designation of several bands of frequency spectrum for communications services and a key illustration was the recent identification of some Spectrum frequencies for 5G deployment.

The EVC said the Commission was conscious of the expectations and the need to ensure that the required regulatory frameworks were in place to meet those challenges.

He noted that this had made the reviews, which the Commission was conducting, an important milestone as the public inquiry was pushing the country to the front queue of the global efforts.

“We must be prepared on both ends of the industry to push the country forward for these remarkable changes, while the licensees continue to invest in deployment.

“The Commission will sustain its drive-by ensuring regulatory efficiency and excellence,” he said.

He expressed optimism that the review would ensure effective and efficient utilization of frequency spectrum and a fair approach to the management of finance in the industry in the near future.

He urged participants to make their contributions freely and raise issues that would assist the Commission in developing and issuing regulatory instruments that would continually contribute to the development of the industry and sustain its positive contributions to the nation’s economy.

Earlier in her address, the Director, Legal and Regulatory Services of the Commission, Ms. Josephine Amuwa, said the objective of the public inquiry was to secure the buy-in of all stakeholders and ensure the efficiency of the regulatory instruments when implemented.

Amuwa explained that the Commission decided to review the Annual Operating Regulations 2014 and the Frequency Pricing Regulations 2004 to ensure that the regulatory instruments issued were abreast of developments in the industry.

According to Amuwa, the Annual Operating Levy Regulations review will look at the current licensing structure and ensure that all the spectra of licensees will be properly covered.

“Another key part of the review is to clarify and clearly outline the benchmarks for assessment.

“This will not only ensure regulatory certainty but further entrench transparency in the process.

“On the other hand, the review of the second regulation, the Frequency Spectrum (Fees and Pricing) Regulations is expected to provide more guidelines on the parameter for determination of proper fees and pricing of spectrum.

“This will also make adequate provisions for different spectrum licensing processes and their assessment parameters.” 

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Glo Rewards Subscribers With 22X Value on Every Recharge

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Glo Rewards Subscribers With 22X Value on Every Recharge

Telecommunications Company, Globacom, has rolled out a customer reward offer which gives 22 times the value of every recharge from N100 to prepaid customers on the network.

The bonus received on each recharge is valid for 7 days from the recharge date, can be used to call all networks, and is available on both paper and electronic recharge platforms.

The company disclosed that the 22X offer is designed to reward customers with huge data and voice benefits each time they recharge their Glo lines, and will avail customers the opportunity to enjoy their browsing and talking experiences from the same recharge.

READ ALSO: Globacom customers to get 22 times value on every recharge

Said Globacom, “Customers who recharge with N100 will be credited with N2, 200 value. They will first get the N100 recharge amount in their main account, which they can use on any Glo product as they desire. Added to this, they will receive a bonus value of N2, 100 for data and for voice calls to all networks in Nigeria. In the same vein, those who recharge with N1, 000 will receive N22, 000 worth of value comprising N1, 000 credit in their main account, which they can use on any Glo product as they wish, and a bonus value of N21, 000 for voice calls to all networks in the country and for data“.

According to the company, customers will also be privileged to enjoy as much as 5GB of bonus data and hundreds of bonus minutes depending on their volume of recharge, saying that the benefits are the most generous by any mobile network operator in the history of telephony in Nigeria.

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INEC Votes Technology in a Season of Untruth, By Okoh Aihe

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INEC Votes Technology in a Season of Untruth, By Okoh Aihe

While our law makers were voting for a journey to the past penultimate week, by turning their back on modern technology in the conduct of elections, two significant things happened one after the other. Richard Branson went to the edge ofspace aboard Virgin Galatico’sSpaceShip Two on July 11, 2021.  Nine days later, on July 20, the richest man in the world, Jeff Bezos was on his way up there, on a journey the world has tagged the race of the billionaires.

In between, the National Assembly took a vote on the Electoral Amendment Bill and voted against the transmission of election results by electronic means. It was a major disappointment for some non –government organisatriiosns (NGOs) and some Nigerians who had prayed for the National Assembly to disappoint them by doing something that is good, by voting yes, just this once, to redeem some of their very deplorable image. It has been fire literally and the nation is aghast with anger. In July 2021, the law makers said some parts of the country are so underdeveloped in terms of telecom infrastructure rollout that it was not possible to execute any electronic transmission of election results. And a particular one boasted irritably that he uses Thuraya phone in his village. And that Thuraya cannot transmit data?

READ ALSO: INEC Seeks Replacement of Manual With Electronic Voting

But let’s return to the billionaires. Those ambitious guys with lots of bucks to throw around –Jeff Bezos ($209.2bn) and Richard Branson ($4.7bn) who are spinning the next frontier of business into reality by organizing space tourism where a rider could pay as much as $250, 000 for a seat, if you decide to go with Virgin Galatico.

So, why am I linking the serious matter of space to the burlesque at the National Assembly? Just to say that the world is moving on. People are planning every day and whether we decide to remain on the same spot in this part of the world and continue to quarrel with providence for doing us wrong, life must go on and people must still go the edge of space to behold the beauty and fragility of the earth from up there. But that is life. You will have those who fly high and those who fly very low, struggling for the base concerns of life. Our politicians make the world hold us in ridicule.

Anyway, in trying to unshroud the entire process, the National Assembly invited the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), regulator of the telecommunications industry, and the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) who is in charge of election matters in the country. As it turned only the NCC went to the Assembly as INEC said it never really got any official invitation.

NCC has made its submission which outraged a number of people but INEC has responded indirectly through several media appearances of its officials to the effect that it had the capacity to go the way of technology in conducting elections,having received assurances from service providers. While NCC vacillated and tilted towards impossibility the data on ground and previous statements from the Commission put a lie to such submission. The Commission’s position has been fact-checked and incredulity is preponderant.

“We were bewildered by the NCC position because these were the same compatriots that had worked with us,” said Nick Dazang, INEC’s Director of Publicity and Voter Education, on AIT KAKAAKI programme.

Dazang observed there were inconsistencies in the amended Bill. How do you do electronic voting and remove electronic transmission of results? It is counterproductive.

He admitted that there were security challenges across the country but INEC has had to face some of these challenges in the past to organize elections that were acceptable. According to his story which is so well known to most people above the age of 10 in Nigeria, there has been insurgency in the North East since 2011. In all these years elections have been conducted in the States of the Region without fail.

“If we could develop a template to conduct elections there, why can’t we transmit results using technology?” he asked.

There continues to be disbelief within INEC just as it is in the larger Nigerian society. People are angry why our politicians in the National Assembly, a majority are smiling over a potentially dangerous move, trying to justify a position that is dismally selfish and only aimed at political preservation into the future.

In the sordid tragic-comic story, some stakeholders, especially the operators, have remained silent. So silent that even when they have been told that the network they have built in over two decades didn’t have the appetite for modern transmission, none of them has said anything.

When this writer reached out to some operators over the weekend, one official said: “I do not understand why NCC will give 2018 numbers. Why would they do that when the operators supply the regulator all the latest data? I don’t want to accept that NCC sounds political.”

READ ALSO: Senate Turns Down PDP Request Of E-Transmission Of Election Results

But do you have the capacity to do it, to carry the election results through your network backbone? The source was cautious explaining that there is no city in the country that has hundred percent coverage, just as there can hardly be any environment where there is no coverage at all. “Anywhere without a coverage may not have significant population otherwise an operator would put a base station there so as to provide services and make money.” Although everybody is expected to vote and the votes counted, the source maintained that such population may not be significant enough to affect the outcome of the elections.

Simple answer. Yes, we have the capacity and capability, but know that even in the cities there are blind spots where such electronic transmission may not be possible. The source also explained that operators were ready at any time to be informed of such environments so that they can escalate their service deployment.

The source expressed the fear that what is playing out at the National Assembly may have little to do with technology but more of the concealed agenda of the politicians who would never have moments to reflect on how low their image has plummeted.

The Nigerian politician is only concerned about tomorrow which may be too far for his aspirations. So in a fit to shore up the impossible he piles untruth on technology, so that he can continue to live in the shadow of sin. The politician wants to eat up the future so as to set the teeth of his children on edge. How very ironic. Unfortunately the younger generation are too smart for their old tricks, and will fight to redeem their future, using that same technology.

 

Okoh Aihe writes from Abuja.

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