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NCC sets new operating costs and spectrum prices for telecom operators

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NCC sets new operating costs and spectrum prices for telecom operators

By Jessica Dogo

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has implemented an annual regulatory operating tax to ensure that all licensees are properly and fairly assessed to meet legal and regulatory expectations.

This was revealed by Professor Umar Danbatta, executive vice-chairman of the Nigeria Communications Commission, during the public inquiry into two draft regulatory instruments held in Abuja on Thursday.

Danbatta explained that the two main regulatory instruments were designed to address the challenges and further strengthen the market structure of the industry.

The instruments are: the Annual Operating Regulations and the Frequency Spectrum Regulations, which govern fees and charges.

“The first instrument will bring regulations into line with current realities and support 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 fulfill its role and exclusive mandate in section 121 of the Nigeria Communications Act 2003 by allocating this scarce national resource on an equitable basis.

“Regulations also ensure that spectrum is allocated and managed in a way that ensures fair pricing and efficient deployment of associated services.

“The public inquiry is the precursor of the commission’s current drive to ensure effective spectrum management and next-generation service disclosure through various enablers.

The EVC said the Commission had started the process of deploying fifth generation (5G) technology in Nigeria, which largely depended on the appropriate frequency spectrum.

With the explosion of technologies, Danbatta said there was also a secondary dependency associated with different approaches to maximizing the frequency spectrum.

He said this had led to the need to designate multiple frequency spectrum bands for communication services and that a key illustration was the recent identification of certain spectrum frequencies for 5G deployment.

The EVC said the Commission is aware of the expectations and the need to ensure that the required regulatory frameworks are in place to address these challenges.

He noted that this made the reviews, which the Commission was conducting, an important step as the public inquiry pushed the country to the forefront of global efforts.

“We need to be prepared at both ends of the industry to push the country towards these remarkable changes, as licensees continue to invest in deployment.

“The Commission will continue its efforts in ensuring the efficiency and excellence of regulation,” he said.

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

He urged the participants to make their contributions freely and to raise issues that would help the Commission to develop and publish regulatory instruments that would continuously contribute to the development of the industry and maintain its positive contributions to the national economy.

Earlier in her speech, the Commission’s Director of Legal and Regulatory Services, Ms Josephine Amuwa, said the aim of the public inquiry was to gain buy-in from all stakeholders and ensure effectiveness. regulatory instruments when they are implemented.

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

According to Amuwa, the review of the Annual Operating Charges Regulations will review the current license structure and ensure that all spectrum of licensees is properly covered.

“Another key part of the review is to clarify and clearly define the assessment criteria.

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

“On the other hand, the revision of the second regulation, the Frequency Spectrum (Charges and Tariffs) Regulations should provide more guidance on the parameter for determining the appropriate charges and pricing for spectrum.

“It will also make adequate arrangements for the various spectrum licensing processes and their evaluation parameters.” (NAA)

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