Nigerian Communications Commission Suspends Frequency Spectrum Allocation

The Nigerian Communications Commission has suspended the allocation of frequency spectrum likely to be approved by the International Telecommunications Union for 5G services. NCC had planned to offer frequencies in three different bands ahead of the 5G roll-out in 2020.

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NCC CEO Umar Danbatta revealed that it was important to suspend the allocation of 2.6 GHz, 3.8 GHz and 4.2 GHz frequencies operators so that there would not be any encumbrance when they were eventually assigned for 5G services by the ITU.

He said the regulator has identified some of the potential frequency bands that may be harmonised for 5G deployment in region one and thus suspended the licensing of those frequencies to ensure that Nigeria is not caught unawares when they are harmonised by standardisation bodies.

Danbatta said the NCC is already working on the three key factors that will drive 5G deployments, namely infrastructure, spectrum and regulation, ahead of the 2020 roll-out. Meanwhile, the GSMA has put the total bandwidth assigned to mobile operations in Nigeria at 470 MHz so far in the country, reports the Guardian.

The GSMA said this is far in excess of the sub-Saharan African average of 268 MHz in the last few years and noted that some inefficiencies may exist in the use of spectrum, as around a quarter of that assigned for mobile is being used by a few service providers that jointly account for less than 2 percent of the mobile market. According to the association, this includes 50 MHz of valuable sub-1 GHz spectrum that is vital for creating good nationwide mobile broadband coverage.

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