Telecoms Operators Fault N75bn Proposed Price Of 5G Spectrum

FG To Release Spectrum For 5G Deployment

Telecommunication operators in the country have faulted the proposed price of N75 billion ($197.4 million) proposed by the Nigerian Communications Commission as the price of 5G spectrum.

They said the minimum price set was too expensive and higher than the price of 5G spectrum in other countries.

The said these at a ‘Stakeholders Consultative Forum on the Draft Information Memorandum for the 3.5GHz Spectrum Auction’ which was held on Thursday in Lagos.

According to the Nigerian Communications Commission, the telcos expressed their concerns directly to them in a comment and recommendation format sent to the regulator.

The Director, Spectrum Administration, NCC, Engr. Oluwatoyin Asaju, said an Initial Bid Deposit (IBD) equal to 10 percent of the reserve price will be adopted in line with the previous auction.

According to him, the Spectrum Licence has a 10-year tenure and a licence holder will be required to obtain a UASL Operational Licence before participating in the auction.

MTN and Airtel in their submission said the reserve price of about N75bn ($197.4m) is too high and above what obtains in other climes of the world.

The GSMA also expressed concerns over the spectrum price, saying it might affect the plan to achieve affordable Internet access for a large portion of the populace.

The GSMA added that a licence tenor of about 15 years should be considered if the spectrum price is to be sustained.

Earlier, MTN had said the price should be reviewed to reflect market realities, while adding that the licence tenor should be put at 20 years as against the 10 years proposed by the NCC.

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The Chairman, Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria, Gbenga Adebayo, said, “We want to assure you of our commitment and readiness. A lot has been said about 5G, we look forward to today’s deliberation.

“We assure you that as we proceed, we will do all we can as a sector to ensure that 5G succeeds.

“For us in the sector, we are most concerned about the cost of 5G. This new direction will require a lot more investment, and the current infrastructure might not be sufficient and efficient for it.

“So, we need to address the issue of cost. In order not to have 5G that is only glamorously deployed and not efficient, we need to address the issue of cost.”

In his welcome address, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, said, “I am happy to inform you that the 3.5GHz spectrum band (the lower C-band), which is not effective in satellite operations, has been recovered from NIGCOMSAT and reallocated to the NCC in the first instance, for deployment of 5G technology based on terms and conditions agreed by both parties.”

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