The NCC’s Regulatory Instruments Are Expected To Make 5G Rollout Easier While Also Addressing Security Concerns – Danbatta
Prof Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), has announced that three of the Commission’s regulatory instruments will provide enabling provisions to assist the country in combating security and insurgency, as well as improve spectrum availability to facilitate the deployment of Fifth Generation (5G) technology.
Iexclusivenews Nigeria reports that the Spectrum Trading Guidelines (STG), Registration of Telephone Subscribers Regulations, and Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) Replacement Guidelines are the three instruments that were put to a public inquiry on Tuesday, both physically and virtually.
Danbatta said the three regulatory tools were devised to address the problems of the ever-evolving communications industry and to further reinforce the market structure, speaking recently during a semi-virtual public inquiry held on-site at the Commission’s Head Office in Abuja.
The public inquiry was held in accordance with the Commission’s consultative approach to all regulatory interventions, he said, because the regulatory instruments under review are critical to ensuring that the regulatory frameworks governing SIM registration and replacement in the communications industry meet the demands of the digital age and that the spectrum trading regime remains flexible.
The Registration of Telephone Subscribers Regulations, for example, establishes a regulatory framework for the registration of subscribers to subscription-based communications services.
The SIM Replacement Guidelines document, on the other hand, provides guidelines on the standards and procedures that Network Service Providers (NSPs) are expected to follow when performing a SIM replacement, swap, or upgrade.
Aside from the instruments, the Commission issued two Business Rules relating to SIM Registration and SIM Replacement to guarantee that the process of SIM activation and replacement is seamless and in line with the national identity management policy.
The third instrument, the Spectrum Trading Guidelines (STG), aims to increase certainty and transparency in the Nigerian communications sector by specifying the entire procedure and requirements for spectrum trading.
While highlighting the importance of spectrum frequency availability in the implementation of 5G technology in Nigeria, Danbatta stated that the STG review process is now more expedient due to the Federal Government’s recent adoption of the 5G Deployment Plan.
Danbatta said the public inquiry is a precursor to the Commission’s current drive towards ensuring that frequency spectrum is readily available to licensees through a rapid and effective process.
Additionally, the EVC said that
“in view of the resolve of the Federal Government to tackle insurgency and insecurity through citizen identity management, it has become necessary to ensure that the provisions of the Registration of Telephone Subscribers Regulations and SIM Replacement Guidelines are in alignment with the National Identity Policy for SIM Card Registration and related activities.”
According to him, the revision of both instruments is geared towards ensuring a more secure and robust process for the registration, activation and replacement of SIMs.
“It is, therefore, my expectation that the review will ensure a more robust framework for the registration of subscribers of communication services, improve the standards and procedures for SIM replacements and ensure effective and efficient utilisation of frequency spectrum in Nigeria,” the EVC said.
Adeleke Adewolu, NCC’s Executive Commissioner for Stakeholder Management, earlier stated that the drafts of all regulatory instruments had been published on the Commission’s website and that all stakeholders’ views had been received and considered.
However, he highlighted that the public inquiry was intended to gather more feedback from stakeholders, ensuring that the final regulatory instruments would promote industry development.
Presentations were made by the Commission on the inputs so far received from licensees and other stakeholders on each of the three regulatory instruments at the event, which was well attended by senior management staff of the Commission and virtually all other external stakeholders, highlighting issues for further rethinking by all stakeholders.
Stakeholders who participated virtually in the event were also given the opportunity to provide inputs and freely contribute to the discussions in a very open and objective manner, which elicited thoughtful discussions that will improve the quality of the regulatory instruments being developed for the sector’s and country’s growth.