By Sarauniya G Usman, Abuja
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC),has expressed readiness of Nigeria to embrace the roll out of 5G networks.
The Commissioner for Stakeholders Management,NCC, Mr Sunday Dare, specifically disclosed this in Abuja yesterday during a media interface with members of NITRA Abuja branch.
According to him,the commission had few months ago comprehensively examined the legal, regulatory and technology issues while developing a roadmap with all critical stakeholders .
Dare said,the 5G have opened up consultations on spectrum for drones, and proactively leading to discussions on the deployment of new technologies.
He said,NCC had recently announced an adjustment in teledensity figures which showed a reduction from the 123% previously claimed to 91%. But some experts are faulting even this new figure.
“NCC is a data-driven organisation. all the data is presented on its website for anyone to interrogate”.
“They say that with Multiple SIMING and shared handsets, the number is far less. They also claim that “over 30million Nigerians have never seen a phone”
Explaining further,he said about two years ago, NCC proactively identified about 200 remote communities who do not have coverage and began working with operators through the USPF to fill these gaps.
“What we are doing as a commission is trying to get these communities to leapfrog 2G networks. “At that time, the population of the communities is up to 35million. It is not as if these people have not seen phones, it is that they do not have regular coverage. So to interpret that as meaning that 35million people have not seen phones is a disservice”.
On high rate of Multi-simming, he said that is one of the benefits of having a very highly competitive market. People are very price sensitive and multiple SIM devices allow them to immediately switch to networks where they can get the best value. We know this all too well and so, we are realistic about actual penetration figures.
On the issue of a large number of invalid SIMs, he said work is ongoing to harmonise with the NIMC database and that we are looking towards a future where once you have the NIN, you don’t have to go through the hassles of registration. All hands are on deck to achieve that.
He however said, the Teledensity is a globally acceptable measure of network penetration, and that is what we use.
The commission therefore calls for the need to acknowledge the efforts of the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) saying, they have been taking a very active part in the joint NCC/Industry Working Group on Multiple Taxation.
“They’ve joined in Regional Outreach where we have engaged directly with senior functionaries of state governments to underscore the critical nature of telecoms infrastructure and to agree on actionable measures for protecting them”.
On the NCAA issue,” we are happy that NCAA has now withdrawn the threat.
“we understand that NCAA is keen to protect Nigeria’s airspace and that is fine. Aviation safety concerns all of us and it is a legitimate pursuit”.
However, calls for a more effective approach than threatening to destroy critical national infrastructure which will negatively impact on national security, social and economic life.
The commission said it will continue engaging all stakeholders inorder to avoid situations like this in the future.
NCC carries out robust consultations before making any material decision. “We probably have the oldest documented consultation guidelines which details formal and informal consultation and rule-making procedures. We encourage stakeholders to take advantage of this.