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Thursday 2nd December, 2021

Telecoms

NCC To Auction 5G Spectrum In December 2021, Sets Conditions For Prospective Bidders

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L-R: Dr. Austin Nwaulune, Director, Digital Economy; Engr. Oluwatoyin Asaju, Director, Spectrum Administration; Mr. Adeleke Adewolu, Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management, all of the NCC; Engr. Abubakar Abdullahi Ladan, Director/Secretary, National Frequency Management Council; Engr. Ubale Maska, Executive Commissioner, Technical Services, NCC; Mr. Abdulazeez Salman, Member, NCC Board of Commissioners; Engr. Gbenga Adebayo, Chairman, Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria; Mr. Yakubu Gontor, Director, Finance Services, NCC; Mr. Danjuma Ibrahim Ndihgihdah, General Manager, Satellite Operations, Nigerian Communications Satellites Limited, and Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, Director, Public Affairs, NCC.

The auction of the 3.5 GHz spectrum for the deployment of Fifth Generation (5G) technology in Nigeria, will take place on December 13, 2021, according to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

In the Information Memorandum (IM) presented by the Commission at a stakeholder engagement forum organised on 5G spectrum in Lagos recently, NCC is adopting Ascending Clock Auction format, which is software-based while a mock auction has been slated for December 10, 2021, as a precursor to the actual auction on December 13, 2021.

The IM provides information, conditions, obligations, financial implication, timelines and other necessary details on the planned 3.5 GHz spectrum auction.

The IM also explains the rollout obligations of the would-be eventual winners of the spectrum licence auction, whose reserved price has been pegged at $197.4 million (N75 billion).

It further states that only licensees, who make down payment of 10 per cent of the reserved bid price and with 100 per cent regulatory compliance would be allowed to participate in the auction while licensees with outstanding debts that have secured NCC’s approval for a payment plan will be allowed to participate in the auction.

According to the IM, the auction comes with a 10-year spectrum licence and a minimum requirement of an operational Universal Access Service Licence (UASL). However, new entrants or licensees without a UASL will be required to obtain a UASL operational license to be qualified for the 5G license.

The eventual licensees will have a rollout obligation plan spanning a period of 10 years, beginning from the date of award of the license. Between the first and second year of the license, the operators are expected to roll out service in, at least, one state in each geo-political zone.

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From the third to fifth year, they are obligated to cover all the zones. Between six to 10 years, they should cover all the states in the country, according to guidelines set out in the IM.

Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, said the Ministry has been working closely with the Commission to ensure that necessary spectrum resources needed for the deployment of 5G network in Nigeria to accelerate the nation’s digital economy space are made available.

Represented by a Director in the Ministry, who is concurrently the Secretary, National Frequency Management Council (NFMC), Abubakar Ladan, the Minister said the 3.5GHz is the most popular spectrum band used globally by regulators and operators for the deployment of 5G technology, and it seems the only band available in Nigeria for immediate use by operators.

In his address, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, listed the various steps diligently taken by the Commission that culminated in the present status of the 5G deployment plan.

He also reeled out data to justify how profitable investment in 5G deployment will be for potential operators and investors in the country.

“Nigeria has an estimated population of 214 million, with an average growth rate of 2.6% annually. Approximately 76.46 per cent of the population is under the age of 35.

“In line with these demographic changes, internet penetration grew from 3 per cent in 2004 to 73.82 per cent as of September 2021, and broadband penetration increased from less than 10 per cent in 2015 to 40.01 per cent in September 2021.”

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He said while the global impact of Fourth Generation (4G) technology brought about an increase in mobile usage and network performance, 5G technology will leverage on this momentum, bringing substantial network improvements, including higher connection speed, mobility and capacity, as well as low-latency capabilities.

The Forum was well attended by industry stakeholders, including operators, industry associations and groups, advocacy bodies, and the media.

The Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), among others, called on the government to continue to make the operating environment more conducive for the existing and prospective licensees in the telecom ecosystem, in order to enable Nigeria to fully harness and harvest the derivable benefits of mobile technology in the country.

The stakeholder engagement forum was organized in keeping with the provisions of the Nigerian Communications Act (NCA) 2003 and NCC’s tradition of consultative regulatory practice.

 

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Telecoms

NCC’s “SHINE YOUR EYES, NO FALL MUGU,” Campaign Debuts In Benin

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The Nigerian Communications Commission has once again expressed its commitment to reach all categories of telecom consumers, with the launch in Benin, of a consumer-centric outreach programme tagged, “Shine your eyes, no fall mugu,” which literally translates to, “Be alert, Don’t be a victim of fraudsters.”

The programme, an initiative of the Commission’s Consumer Affairs Bureau (CAB), is specially conceived and implemented using Nigerian pidgin, and it’s intended for a segment of the telecom consumer population who are more comfortable with localised communication that resonates with their reality.

The two-day programme, implemented in three phases, started with a roadshow that featured local artistes and comedians who displayed musical and other performances to amuse and entertain people to create awareness and sensitise telecom consumers about how cybercriminals may use telecom platforms to defraud unsuspecting members of the public.

The last day of the two-day event featured a 20-minute radio talk in Nigerian pidgin, to further create awareness and like the roadshow, to invite telecom consumers to an enlightenment forum where presentations will be made about tricks deployed by cybercriminals to defraud people online.

The presentations also captured measures to be taken by consumers and members of the public in order not to fall victim to fraudsters who may use telecom platforms to perpetrate fraudulent acts.

Additionally, at today’s enlightenment forum, drama, audio narratives and other attractions thematised on the centrality of vigilance, alertness and caution in cyberspace by all users, will be featured.

The programme was facilitated by a local partner who supports NCC, by mobilising critical segments of the public through opinion leaders and social groups to participate in the events, in order for them to be armed with the right information they may require to explore the Internet safely.

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This programme, coming on the heels of NCC’s National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (which occurred in October), and the annual National Cybersecurity Conference, which took place on 3rd November 2021, is meant to reinforce the messages of cyber awareness, cyber vigilance, and cyber smartness to telecom consumers whenever they are online.

The roadshow commenced at Ekehuan Road, and the procession drove through Airport Road, to State Secretariat, Sapele Road and through the roundabout to Ring Road, to Akpakpava, Dawson Road and back to Ugbowo and Uselu Market.

The motorcade, the music, the displays by artistes and the underlying narration of the message of the outreach in Nigerian pidgin caught the attention of residents and passers-by who patiently listened to the messages.

Information, Communication and Education (IEC) materials were also shared with the public at every neighbourhood the procession stopped to display and educate the public.

 

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Telecoms

Regulator, Licensee Engagement Critical To Industry Growth, Development – Danbatta

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Prof. Umar Danbatta, EVC/CEO, NCC

The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta has said that the “Talk to the Regulator” Forum organised by the Commission is critical to industry growth and development.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Lagos edition of the “Talk To The Regulator” Forum on Thursday in Lagos, Danbatta said interactions like this sits squarely within the five pillars of the Commission’s Strategic Management Plan (2020-2024).

Recall that the NCC’s five pillars of Strategic Management Plan (2020-2024) include Regulatory Excellence, Promotion of Universal Broadband Access, the Development of the Digital Economy, Facilitation of Market Development, and Strategic Partnering.

Danbatta, who was represented at the forum by the Executive Commissioner Stakeholder Management, Mr. Adeleke Adewolu stated that the forum provides the Commission with a unique opportunity to engage telecom licensees in a collaborative atmosphere which, in turn, enables a joint examination of issues that are negatively affecting licence compliance and industry growth.

“Through regular interactions with our licensees, the Commission is able to gain valuable insights to enhance our regulatory output and drive excellence in consonance with the five pillars of our strategic vision for the industry as encapsulated in the Commission’s Strategic Vision Plan (SVP, 2021-2025),” the EVC said.

He noted that eventhough analysts agree that the industry has continued to show improvements in key indices such as contribution to GDP (which grew to 14.42% in Q2 2021), active internet subscriptions (which reached over 140million at the end of September, 2021), teledensity (which reached 99.98% at the end of September,
2021), and Broadband penetration (which reached 40.01% of the population at the end of September, 201), the Commission is not resting on these achievements.

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“We are very much aware that not all our licensees are doing as well as they ought to be doing. Several licensees are struggling to pay their staff, many are unable to comply with basic licence obligations, several are defaulting in the payment of their Annual Operating Levies (AOL), and the level of interconnect and other inter-licensee indebtedness is still unacceptably high.

“The Commission will continue to roll-out forward-looking and all-inclusive regulatory initiatives to provide market opportunities for all its licensees. We have also committed to the constant review of our licensing framework as well as key regulatory instruments so as to refresh our regulatory frameworks and ensure better service delivery for consumers and efficient attainment of other national interest objectives,” he said.

Danbatta stated further that the industry can only achieve the national interest objectives set out in the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (2020-2025) and other policy instruments if most of the licensees are operating at optimal strength.

“We are, therefore, keenly aware of the need to listen to our licensees and address any concerns that may impede the attainment of the relevant policy objectives,” he said.

The EVC assured that the NCC Board and Management are fully committed to take comments on Board and to make necessary adjustments where possible.

“Indeed, the Commission’s leadership restated this commitmen during our recent Board and Management Retreat, and we consider this forum a good place to demonstrate that commitment,” Danbatta said

Themed: ‘Improving Stakeholder Satisfaction’, the two-day forum had in attendance on the opening day, stakeholders in the telecommunications industry including telecoms and Internet service providers across Lagos and members of the public.

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Telecoms

NCC Extends Deadline For Submission Of 3.5GHz Bid To Next Monday

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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has extended the deadline for the submission of Bids and Initial Bid Deposit for the 3.5GHz spectrum auction to 5.00 pm on Monday, 29th November, 2021.

Recall that the Commission had earlier scheduled the submission of responses in respect of the 3.5GHz Spectrum Band auction to close on Wednesday, November 24,2021.

The NCC, however, said on Wednesday in.a statement signed by its Director, Public Affairs, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde that “due to the challenges posed to air travels as witnessed recently and considering that it may have some impact on intending bidders regarding the submission of their bids, the Commission hereby extends the deadline for submission of bids and Initial Bid Deposits (IBDs) to 5.00 pm on Monday, 29th November, 2021.”

The statemebt however, quoted Adinde as saying that all other events as scheduled in the Information Memorandum remain unchanged.

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