By ADEDEJI ADEYEMI FAKOREDE
ASSOCIATION of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) has urged the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to urgently address delays in allocating value added service numbering range to operators.
The President of ATCON EngrLanre Ajayi made this known when the association paid a courtesy visit to the EVC of NCC, Professor Umar Danbatta and other top management staff in Abuja.
On the Numbering plan, he said ”We would like to bring to your notice the undue delay our members suffer in obtaining Value Added Service (VAS) numbering range. There are cases of some members, licensed for services by NCC, but for more than 1 year are not able to obtain numbering range to commence service”.
Ajayi said that ATCON consider this a “very poor service delivery from NCC and it is unexpected of a regulatory agency that is celebrated as an icon in Africa”.
He also said that the Association is of the opinion that the Nigerian market is matured enough to have a secondary spectrum market.
“Presently, there is large number of idle spectrums in custody of some operators while numerous investors are yearning for spectrum to roll out services. Since it takes a lot of hurdles to retrieve such spectrum from the owners, it makes sense to allow such owners sell to new buyers who may have a need for the spectrum. “These will benefit everyone concerned. It benefits the seller, who may have challenges in rolling out after the acquisition of the spectrum. It benefits the buyer who now have spectrum to roll out services.
“It benefits the consumer who are now able to obtain services, it benefits Government who can take in more taxes. However, participation at secondary market should be limited to those who obtained spectrum through competitive bidding, like auction, to avoid a scenario where people use their contact to obtain spectrum from Government and sell in the secondary market”.
He added that ”As a strategy to attract small operators to unserved and underserved areas, we would like to recommend to NCC to make available some spectrum to operators for free. Big operators are mostly focused on commercial and very productive population centres. Small operators can easily mobilise to service small communities if appropriate incentives are given.
“Some countries in the world, including the United States, give unlicensed or lite licensed frequencies to operators to attract them to underserved or unserved communities and we would like to recommend this to NCC.
“This will not only ensure provision of services in those communities but also serve as a great opportunity to create jobs in the communities”.