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5G Networks: Auction driven by pursuit of enhanced quality life for consumers, not revenue –Danbatta

L-R: Gbolahan Thomas, Senior Manager, Regulatory Services, Airtel; Josephine Amuwa, Director of Legal and Regulatory Services at NCC; Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman/CEO, NCC; Ubale Maska, Executive Commissioner, Technical Services, NCC; Ikenna Ikeme, General Manager, Regulatory Services, MTN Nigeria, at the Stakeholders' Forum in Lagos Photo: NCC

*Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice-Chairman and CEO of the Nigerian Communications Commission, clarifies the overriding consideration is the deployment of 5G services for improved, better life for consumers as well as growth of national economy with qualitative high-speed Internet services, and not to generate money for the Federal Government

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

As the telecoms regulatory Commission prepares for the next round of the exercise, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (EVC/CEO) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has explained the NCC’s ongoing efforts at the timely auction of available spectrum for deployment of 5G services in the West African country.

ConsumerConnect reports the NCC EVC/CEO Tuesday, November 15, 2022,in Lagos, disclosed the efforts are primarily driven by the pursuit to join the global community to advance digital services and enhance quality communications infrastructure for the benefit of the consumers, and not by the need to attract revenue for the Federal Government.

Benefits of 5G technology 

Danbatta noted this while addressing a cross-section of industry players at the Marriott Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos, during the Stakeholders’ Consultative Forum on the Draft Information Memorandum (IM) for the 3.5GHz Spectrum Auction hosted by the Commission.

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The NCC Executive Vice-Chairman also stated there is a need for stakeholders to understand the genuine vision of the Commission to equip the country with the latest technologies and services.

According to him, this vision is the focus of the efforts to deploy 5G services nationwide.

Danbatta also said: “I want to disabuse the minds of those who feel that the objective of the NCC to auction the first and the second rounds of the 5G spectrum bands is to generate money for the Federal Government. This is not correct.

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“The overriding consideration is not to generate money for the Federal Government but principally to ensure deployment of 5G services that enhance better life for Nigerians and the growth of the nation’s economy as a whole through provision of qualitative high-speed Internet services that increase productivity and efficiency across sectors.”

He further clarified that “for those who are conversant with developments in the industry, the proactive regulatory approach of the Commission in transitioning Nigeria from 1G, to 2G, 3G, 4G and now to 5G has brought remarkable socio-economic developments, transforming lives and businesses.

READ ALSO: Danbatta Assures NCC’s Commitment To Advancing Digital Economy At TIA Awards

“This clarification is very important at this stage to put to rest the insinuations and misconceptions being bandied in certain quarters.”

He noted: “Our intent is purely to digitally transform Nigeria and Nigerians towards becoming a leading digital economy not only in Africa but globally and where telecoms continues to be a major enabler and contributor to the nation’s economic growth.”

Danbatta also explained the rationale behind the need to conduct an auction on the second round of the 5G spectrum sale.

READ ALSO Special Report: Umar Garba Danbatta as Icon of Digital Transformation in Nigeria

The EVC/CEO said following the successful auction of the initial two lots of the 5G spectrum in December 2021, the Commission had received requests to administratively license the remaining lots at the exact fee the initial two lots were auctioned.

He noted, however,  that the Commission, in exercise of its powers under the Nigerian Communications Act 2003, has decided to license the available lots in the 3.5GHz spectrum band through the Auction Method.

According to him, the Auction Method is a transparent and efficient approach that can open opportunities for new entrants as well as deepen competition in the telecoms industry.

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Danbatta stated: “The Commission has committed enormous resources to ensure that harmonised Spectrum is secured and released in a timely manner for present and future rollout of services that will unleash the potential of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), including International Mobile Telecommunication (IMT-2020) services.

“We have kept ourselves abreast of developments at international fora, including ITU-R Study Groups to enable the allocation of strategic Spectrum to IMT services especially the IMT-2020 which has been on the front burner in the last two ITU-R Study Cycles.”

RELATED: NCC Convenes Stakeholders’ Forum On 5G Services Auction December

He said: “Hence, it is important that we ensure the timely release of the Spectrum bands necessary for 5G deployment to the industry to enable us reap the immediate and envisioned benefits of 5G technology and facilitate the development of Nigeria’s Digital Economy to foster national growth.”

Representatives of telecoms companies, media and other stakeholders made additional inputs into the Draft IM besides the comments and inputs already received via correspondence before the forum commenced. Engr. Ubale Maska, Executive Commissioner Technical Services at NCC, who is also the Auction Adviser, reminded stakeholders at the forum that Commission would still take comments up to close of business November 17, 2022, just before the final IM that will guide the auction process is published November 18, 2022.

READ ALSO: NCC Inaugurates Committee To Enhance Broadband Infrastructure Deployment

It is recalled the Commission had developed a draft Information Memorandum (IM) for the Auction of the 3.5GHz band, published on the NCC Web site October 21, 2022, to enable stakeholders review and make inputs and comments.

The telecoms regulator noted the Tuesday, November 15 forum in Lagos, was to deliberate on the draft document and take contributions from stakeholders to enrich the quality of the document for auction process and towards the efficient management and utilisation of this important spectrum resource in line with global best practices.

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