Operators reject auction of 2.3GHz to new telecom firm [Sun, The (Nigeria)]
(Sun, The (Nigeria) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) By BISI OLALEYE
The three mobile operators in the country have rejected the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC)'s plan to auction additional slot of 30MHz on the 2.3GHz frequency spectrum to a new telecommunications operator. The existing telcos are already on the frequency band and this, according to them, may cause disharmony and prevent customers from enjoying a robust broadband experience.
These views were aired at a forum on Monday, themed: 'Best option for licensing the remaining slots in the 2.3GHz band'. The telecoms regulator put out an advertisement announcing its plans to auction 1X30MHz to a new operator, whilst the remaining 10MHz will be used as guard bands to eliminate interference. Mobitel, Spectranet, as well as Direct-on-PC (DoPC) who are currently operating on the band, have all made their cases against NCC's proposed auctioning of the remaining slots on the spectrum band.
According to the telecoms operators, it gives undue advantage to the new operator who will enjoy 30MHz as against 20MHz allotted to them. They advised the commission to allot 10MHz extra each to the three existing operators who have expressed willingness to negotiate and pay for this additional spectrum frequency. The remaining 10MHz, the mobile operators went further will be used as guard bands to stop interference – a major technical issue significantly impairing delivery of efficient broadband services.
Additional spectrum, according to these operators would provide them with the needed capacity to deliver efficient and affordable broadband services to consumers. This, they agreed, will deepen the internet penetration in the country. Warning the Commission, Chief Executive Officer, Mobitel, Mr. Johnson Salako, ,said that if the commission sticks to the direction of auctioning additional slots on the band, it would further compound the problems of the current operators. The Chief Executive Officer, Spectranet, Atul Ogiha, also added that "There is negligible non-existent, fixed wireline infrastructure in the country.
It's not viable to build a wireline network due to the exorbitant cost of Right of Way and other bottlenecks. International bandwidth cost is very high in comparison to other parts of the world." Earlier in his welcome address, the Executive Vice Chairman of the commission, Dr. Eugene Juwah, explained that the objective of the forum was to provide an avenue for stakeholders and users of the 2.3 GHz band to discuss, technically criticize, exchange ideas and proffer options that will help the commission to arrive at a decision.
on the further licensing of the remaining 40 MHz bandwidth in the band for the benefit of all Nigerians. "This forum is very remarkable as we have in our midst highly respected presenters with decades of practical experience at their disposal to deliberate on options and challenges as it relates to further licensing of the band. With global development centred on availability of broadband services, the Commission is on a regular basis inundated with several requests for frequencies to deliver the services.
This has posed severe challenges as the frequencies sought for are scarce. "In no distant future, the industry predicts the development and indeed deployment of more spectral efficient technologies that would be able to deliver more with less Frequency Spectrum and also improve on interference mitigation techniques available for a harmonious and interference free coexistence". We look forward to rich and interactive sessions and outcomes to guide our decision on further licensing of the remaining 40 MHz in the 2.3 GHz band. It is expected that at the end of this forum, we all shall be part of the future in the management and utilization of this resource in line with Global best practices.
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