The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is set to auction five slots of spectrum for the deployment of Fifth Generation of telecommunication technology, commonly called 5G.
This was disclosed by the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the NCC, Professor Umar Dambatta, during a public hearing on the draft “Regulations on Telephone Subscriber Registration, Sim Replacement and Spectrum Allocation, 2021” in Abuja, Nigeria.
Professor Danbatta stated that the Commission has put everything in place to auction five slots of 5G spectrum, saying “ … on our readiness for 5G deployment,… right now we are 97 percent.”
The NCC Executive Commissioner Stakeholders Management, Adeleke Adewolu, (representing the EVC) also said that the “ spectrum trading guidelines, telephone users guidelines and SIM replacement guidelines would help to guarantee growth in the industry.”
Additional changes recommended
In her presentation on the general over view on SIM registration and activation, the Director Legal Services, Josephine Amuwa who was represented by the Director Telecoms Laws and Regulatory Unit, Mrs. Helen Obi, said that any network provider that allows a pre-registered SIM or SIM without full bio-data should be made to pay a penalty of N200,000 per SIM.
She also listed some of the new guidelines, such as, “Activation window” ( grace period where a subscriber enjoys limited services before full registration) which has been increased from 30 to 60 days.
Also, foreigners with visas of two or more years are to register their NIN before acquiring a telephone line but those with less than two year visas are not required to get a NIN.
”Subscribers are only allowed to register four sim cards per network provider. For the reactivation of a deactivated line, a person will have to go through the process of new activation of a SIM card,’ ‘she added.
The Executive Commissioner, Finance, NCC, Uche Nwodi appealed to the the commission to also look into the 18 years minimum age limit for mobile network subscribers, defining in the draft that “A subscriber is a person that is of 18 years and above.
Stakeholders in the telecomms sector also participated in the hearing, and made useful contributions.
Adedoyin Oye of Airtel complained about infrastructure damage. According to him, Airtel alone experiences over 300 fibre cuts in a month as a result of construction. He therefore asked for an improved synergy between the commission, Mobile Networks Operators, (MNO) and construction firms to protect MNO’s fibres.
MNOs also appealed to the NCC to make provision for them to go to senior citizens and VIPs for registration/sim replacement, a position that the communication is not comfortable with but promised to still look into.