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Ndukwe, Others Seek Secondary Market for Spectrum



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By Adedeji Fakorede

Stakeholders in the Information Technology (IT) industry have called for the creation of secondary market for spectrum trading to ensure ubiquitous broadband, access and affordability.

The stakeholders who spoke at the just concluded Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI-Nigeria) Coalition Meeting unanimously called on the Federal Government to convoke all stakeholders’ Forum through the Frequency Management Board (FMB) to fine-tune regulatory impetuses to aid the process.

Country like India approved for spectrum trading in September this year with eighteen-point regulatory attachments to the process.

According to the speakers at A4AI, spectrum trading, though still strange to African market, is apt and will remove the bottlenecks associated with retrieving already allotted spectrum licenses, but unused.

Leading the discussion, Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, national Coordinator of A4AI-Nigeria, said “Many African countries are not participating in spectrum trading, but Nigeria has always pride itself as taking the lead. We have led the Continent in terms of network expansions. In fact, the NCC has always been looked upon as the pacesetter in Africa in the area of the regulations of the telecoms industry.

“So, I want to support the speakers that those who have chunks of spectrum should be allowed to sale in the secondary market, because spectrum trading comes a proviso that you bought the spectrum in a competitive manner. It is not where you are dashed a spectrum then you go and sale it. Anybody who obtained spectrum licence has right to it all through the lifespan of the licence, because he bought it. But when allocated it can be withdrawn any time.

President of the Association of Telecommunications Company of Nigeria (ATCON), Lanre Ajayi said the secondary market for spectrum allocation is something the present administration should not shy away from.

He said, “A number of Companies have spectrum they have not been able to put to use for some reasons and NCC as the regulator, for whatever reason, has not been able to retrieve the spectrum from them. In actually fact, I think it is very difficult to retrieve such. The best way is to create the secondary spectrum market, where companies can trade and utilize it. This market exists in other markets and Nigeria should not be an exception”.

Also speaking Mr. Osondu Nwokolo, director, Regulatory Affairs at nTel, said spectrum trading will actually help the Federal Government save funds.

To him, “If I have spectrum and have not been using it for one reason or the other, there are potential legal issues around retrieving the spectrum from me. Even when you want to retrieve the spectrum for re-allocation, the right thing is to compensate the original holders of the spectrum.

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