The Nigerian Communications Commission has said telecommunications operators and other licensees of the commission can begin trading in spectrum in the next one month.
The Executive Vice Chairman of the commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta, said this in Abuja while speaking with journalists at the review of the submissions made by stakeholders on the Draft Spectrum Trading Guidelines.
Spectrum can be described as the life-blood of telecommunications. It is a range of electromagnetic waves or frequencies through which sound and data are transmitted from one place to another.
Sometimes, operators fail to utilise spectrums that they obtain from the telecommunications regulatory agency. At the moment, they cannot share or sell such spectrum to others who have better need of the frequency.
Danbatta said the final guidelines for trading in spectrum including approval by the board of the commission would be ready to enable exchange of spectrum from one operator to another.
He said, “You have witnessed today a public enquiry on spectrum trading, leasing and sharing. The whole idea is to ensure this important national resource is optimally utilised for the delivery of qualitative telecommunications services.
“Today, we have seen a framework that will facilitate optimal utilisation of the resource. With this guideline, if telecommunication companies want to trade, lease it or want to share it with another company; that is going to be allowed.
“The rules of engagement have been provided. Today’s public enquiry is to invite the buy-in of critical stakeholders in the telecom sector in the country to make further inputs that will culminate in the production of final guideline on spectrum trading, leasing and sharing.
“We are looking at two more weeks to make additional input and thereafter, the board will be given a chance to look at it and give approval. So all in all, we are looking at one month.”
At the public enquiry, some stakeholders kicked against the provision that an operator selling a spectrum should part with 60 per cent of the proceeds from a spectrum obtained through administrative procedure.
The NCC said spectrums obtained through administrative means could be much cheaper than those obtained through the process of auction. It promised to look into the protest but added that the provision was made to avoid operators from obtaining spectrums for speculative purposes.