Disagreement, controversy trail NCC ban on use of higher frequency by telecos
Controversy and disagreement have continued to visit a recent directive by the Nigerian telecoms regulators, the NCC, that no GSM firm should use high frequency band from 5.4GHz, 5.470 to 5.725 GHz in the country.
It followed the ban with a 14-day ultimatum, with effect from Thursday, that sanction awaits any? “defaulting firm.
In a statement signed by the Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, said the frequency was not free for use to operators not yet licenced for it in Nigeria.
The EVC stated: “The NCC hereby informs the general public that the 5.4GHz band spanning 5.470–5.725 GHz frequency range is a licensed band in Nigeria. Transmission of signals or use of equipment in any form on this band without the approved frequency licence obtained from the Nigerian Communications Commission is illegal and shall not be tolerated.
“All concerned operators/companies or any person(s) using this band should note that it is a criminal offence pursuant to the section 122 of the Nigerian Communications Act, 2003 to operate on any frequency not duly assigned by the commission.
“The consequences of such an act may lead to imprisonment, sanction and forfeiture of equipment used in operating the illegal services.”
But in their reactions, the various wireless operators said the ultimatum was uncalled for since there are known means through which NCC monitors and blocks violation of use of frequency unapproved for service providers.
They reasoned that only operators with unlimited licences on frequency range of 5.0GHz and above were making use of the contentious frequencies, in line with their approval earlier given them by the regulator.
An MTN official, who would not want to be named, said her company had upgraded its licence to cover all ranges of frequencies that is licenced to use in Nigeria.
“Our company, MTN , has approval for the highest modular freqency range, of up to 5.7 MHz even though it is not putting it out for commercial use for now, as the needed expansion of its network before that is still ongoing.
“That could not have been possible without the needed approval by NCC, through its licence approvals,” she stated.
Similar response was obtained from Airtel, which claimed that it had also been given unlimited licence to render multi-faceted services, covering both voice and data.
Mr. Doyin Ayodele, the marketing manager of Smile Communication, one of the major broadband service providers said the NCC directive was being perceived as affecting all operators, whereas the truth is that it is not for all operators.
“Broadband services are not within NCC control, because their licences are not from the commission. But the ultimatum is necessary, because there has been incidence of wireless services operators whose operations are limited to voice serves with limited date services leaving their area of specialization to go into broadband services.
“We are happy that the control that has been long needed in the system has started showing sign of being implemented.”
He said the directive would mean that henceforth, no operator outside those given broadband licence could venture into such a high frequency mode.