NCC’s Regulatory Footprints Since 2015 (2): Initiation Of Purpose-Driven Protocols For Next-Gen Tech Revolution In Nigeria

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On assumption of office as he EVC/CEO of the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta initiated the 8-Point Agenda, in order to facilitate the development of a knowledge-driven, inclusive, globally competitive and prosperous Nigeria.

Two of the 8-points, namely, the 3rd and 5th were, purposely, geared towards optimizing the usage and benefits of spectrum and facilitating strategic collaboration and partnerships.

To achieve these, therefore, the Commission, in collaboration with the Global System for Mobile Communications Association, GSMA, in the fourth quarter of 2018, held a workshop, to examine the prospects and challenges of Next-Generation Networks, NGN, such as the Internet of Things, IoT, 5G, Artificial Intelligence, AI and Big Data, among others, in the nation’s telecoms industry.

“The primary goal is, to provide an avenue for regulators, operators and investors, as well as, other stakeholders, to examine and constructively, exchange ideas, on the main demand areas, for next generation of services, spectrum licensing reforms and the requirements, for 5G and other emerging technologies that are to revolutionise the telecom system and users”, Danbatta stressed, at the workshop.

The workshop, thus, formed the precursor, to the country’s preparedness for the impending deployment of 5G technology, whose commercial deployment, on a large-scale and global level is, expected to commence, fully, by 2020.

Towards the latter part of 2019, therefore, the Commission, in its proactive regulatory approach, flagged off the trial of Fifth Generation, 5G, technology, in 2 States of Lagos and Cross Rivers as well as the Federal Capital Territory of Abuja, with MTN, a telecom operator.

This made NCC the first telecoms regulator in the whole of West Africa, to begin such a historic trial, towards unleashing greater digital revolution in the country.

The 5G network deployment will enable Nigerians to have access to faster broadband speed on their network, which will result in more efficiency in the course of carrying out personal and official activities.

The initiated InfraCo framework, will serve as a base that, will provide the needed robust broadband infrastructure, upon which the 5G services will ride, thus, impacting e-learning, tele-medicine, e-agriculture, e-health, e-commerce and so on, in terms of speed, latency and more applications that can be made possible, when 5G is deployed, by operators in the country.

The Commission has, also, projected greater prospects for accelerating digital transformation, in Nigeria, by making the country, a truly knowledge and digital economy, which include the strong move by the Commission, to ensure that, all new Base Transceiver Stations, BTS, built by Mobile Network Operators, MNOs, are LTE-compatible.

In a bid to further broaden the infrastructural base for digital transformation in the country, the Commission harmonized the Right of Way, RoW, charges on State and Federal government highways, at the cost of N145 per linear meter, although, some States are yet to implement this.

Other moves by the Commission include, striving to eliminate multiple taxation and regulations, facilitating the spread of 3G coverage to, at least, 80 per cent of the Nigerian population, over the current 56.4% of the population covered with 3G networks and many more.

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