Nigerian Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have rejected a move by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to sell the remaining spectrum in the 2.3 gigahertz (GHz) band, claiming that such a move will further intensify the misery of operators licensed and currently operating within the band.These operators are Mobitel, Spectranet and Direct on Personal Computer (DoPC).
According to Atel Ajha, chief operating officer (COO) of Spectranet, who spoke on behalf the operators at a forum organised by the NCC on the ‘Best Option for Licensing the Remaining Slots in the 2.3Ghz Band’, argued that instead of selling the remaining slots to fresh operators, they should be given the opprotunity to buy it.
He said that the standard practice all over the world is that operators in the band range get 30 MHz, suggesting that guardband of between 2.3Ghz and 2.4Ghz should also be provided to take care of interference and spurious emission.
He added that their request is based on the need to extend service delivery to other states of the federation with superior technology and new customers’ experience.
implying that planning must provide for future technology requirement,” he warned that the proposal of the NCC to open bid for the 30 MHz would unleash an era of “unfair competition” on the industry.
Ajha lamented that there are no significant wireless operators in the country when in fact, globally, they are the ones that provide the primary network operations.
He said ,international bandwidth rate in the country is one of the highest in the world, adding that when the country is compared globally, its national long distance and metro network is too exorbitant so is the rental cost too.
He fears that if another operator is licensed and that operator has infrastructure like international carrier licence as well as metro and national long distance fibre ownership it may lead to cross-subsidy on ISPs, creating an “unfair competition” in the industry.
The Executive Vice Chairman and chief CEO of the NCC, Eugene Juwah, said convening the forum in line with the NCC’s participatory regulatory approach. “The objective of this forum, in line with the Commission’s policy of participatory regulation amongst other things is to provide an avenue for stakeholders and users of the 2.3 GHz band to discuss, technically criticise, exchange ideas and proffer options that will help the Commission in arriving at a decision on the further licensing of the remaining 40 MHz bandwidth in the band for the benefit of all Nigerians.
He added that the forum is remarkable as due to the presence of 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.