Nigerian telcos now free to trade spectrum, says NCC

Telecommunications operators in Nigeria can now trade spectrum among themselves. This followed the lifting suspension on the Spectrum Trading Guidelines (STG) 2018, by the Nigerian Communications Commission.

The guidelines, which came into force in 2018 was suspended by the telecoms regulator earlier this year to allow for fresh guidelines that would make it more flexible for operators to trade on, in line with the new National Broadband Plan (2020-2025).

However, NCC in a statement released yesterday said the lifting of the suspension followed deliberations on the subject by the Board of NCC at its Special Board Meeting, which was held recently.

“The Board was satisfied that, given the state of the consultation, it was possible to lift the suspension of the STG pending the conclusion of the review,” NCC said in a public notice signed by its Director, Public Affairs, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde.

“Accordingly, the Board resolved that the suspension of the STG be lifted and that relevant stakeholders continue to operate the STG while a new/revised STG is finalised in consultation with the industry,” the public notice added.

The Commission had, in a statement issued on May 27, 2020, announced the suspension of STG 2018 for the Nigerian telecommunications industry and informed all licensed telecoms operators, prospective investors, industry stakeholders, and the general public of the regulatory decision.

“The Board of NCC had earlier taken the decision for Spectrum Trading in response to telecommunications global dynamics, as well as the efforts to optimally utilise and maximise the benefits of Spectrum as a scarce resource.

“Spectrum is a limited resource, which, when inefficiently utilised, greatly limits broadband coverage and speed. The current Spectrum Trading Guidelines were developed in 2018 after industry-wide consultations and this instrument allows that the Spectrum resource be traded on the Secondary Market through Transfer, Sharing, or Leasing (TSL) upon satisfying stipulated regulatory conditions,” NCC stated.

According to the Commission, the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP), 2020-2025 launched by President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja in March 2020, requires that these Guidelines be reviewed to ensure that unutilised Spectrum is fairly traded to facilitate rollout by other operators amongst others.

It added that the guidelines would also help to address the need for ubiquitous broadband deployment to accelerate penetration and access in line with the economic agenda of the Federal Government.


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