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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is carrying out amendments of telecom operators’ Annual Operating Levy Regulations (AOL) and the Frequency Spectrum fee and price.

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The NCC said this move is to bring the regulations in line with current realities and sustain the contributions of the communications sector to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

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If the amendments are concluded, data and call tariffs may increase in the country, Daily Trust reports.

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The Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of NCC, Prof Umar Garba Danbatta, disclosed at a public inquiry on AOL and Spectrum Frequency in Abuja on Thursday that the amendments would ensure a fair and competitive telecoms market.

“The first instrument on AOL ensures that all licensees are properly and equitably assessed for the operating levy as well as meeting both statutory and regulatory expectations.

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“Its review is also expected to help in strengthening and ensuring a fair and competitive telecoms market in Nigeria,” Danbatta said.

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The NCC boss said the second instrument on frequency spectrum fee and pricing enables the Commission to meet its sole and exclusive mandate as enshrined in Section 21 of the Nigerian Communications Act (NCA), 2003 by assigning the scarce national resource in an equitable manner.

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He said: “The regulations also guarantee that frequency spectrum are assigned and managed in a way that ensures fair pricing and efficient deployment of attendant services.”

Danbatta further said the public inquiry not only reflects the commission’s strategic mission and vision to promote regulatory excellence through effective regulatory processes but also signposts its consultative approach to all its regulatory initiatives.

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He said the public inquiry was a precursor to NCC’s current drive for efficiency in spectrum management and the unveiling of next generation services through varied enablers, adding that it was in this regard that the Commission issued a Spectrum Trading Guidelines (STG) in 2018, to make frequency Spectrum readily available to licensees through an effective process.

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“Furthermore, the Commission has commenced the process of deployment of Fifth Generation (5G) technology in Nigeria. The success of which largely depends on the appropriate frequency spectrum.

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“The efficacy and reliability of the initiatives will be hinged on proper market valuation of the frequency spectrum and fair assessment of levies,” he said.

With the explosion in technologies, Danbatta said there has also been an attendant secondary reliance on different approaches to maximise frequency spectrum.

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He said this has led to the need for designation of several bands of frequency spectrum for communications services and a key illustration is the recent identification of some Spectrum frequencies for 5G deployment.

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The EVC said the Commission is conscious of the expectations and the need to ensure that the required regulatory frameworks are in place to meet these challenges.

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