29 December 2012

Nigeria Plans Three Batches of Telecom Licensing in 2013

There are plans by the Nigerian telecommunications regulator, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), to issue three batches of new spectrum licencing in 2013 to arrest the dwindling fortunes of fixed telephony and also speed up the development of broadband communication in the country.

The industry expects new fixed line licences as well auctioning of digital licences in the 2.3 GigaHertz (GHz) and 2.6GHz spectrum to increase broadband access and make internet pervasive in the urban and rural areas in the country in 2013.

Following the demise of the first national operator (FNO), Nigerian Telecommunications Limited, fixed telephony services and code division multiple access (CDMA), fixed mobile lines suffered massive loss of subscribers as customers shifted to mobile lines which has proved to be more affordable as mobile operators offer reduced call rates.

Confirming the development to LEADERSHIP WEEKEND, Mr. Reuben Mouka, head, media and public relations of NCC said the Commission has a number of key priorities come 2013 which includes the new licences that will be issued. "We expect a lot of things to happen. We expect new licences; we expect mobile number portability (MNP) to start in the first quarter of 2013."

Mouka added that NCC will also bring to a close the lingering subscriber identification module (SIM) card registration with the final verification of the numbers in the database. Other things the industry is looking forward to in the first quarter of 2013 include the results from the December 2012 test drive to ascertain the quality of service (QoS) from each of the CDMA and Global System for mobile communications (GSM) networks.

The Nigerian regulator plans to auction the remainder of the 2.3GHz that it started auctioning in 2010 following the conclusion of an audit of all spectrum within its jurisdiction. Speaking recently in Lagos, executive vice chairman, NCC Dr. Eugene Juwah disclosed that NCC will auction the Digital Dividend Spectrum in 2015 once the broadcasting networks occupying the space vacate .

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