The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) said it realised N47billion from the sale of spectrum to telcos in the country in the past one year.
NCC’s Chief Executive Officer, Prof. Garba Dambatta who addressed a world press conference yesterday at its Abuja head office, said the eight-point agenda unveiled one year ago under his leadership is being pursued with passion. He said broadband penetration, which was the cornerstone of the agenda, has improved tremendously, moving from between eight and 10 per cent to 20.95 per cent, while internet penetration has hit 47.44 per cent which is second only to South Africa.
He said: “The Commission has encouraged the refarming of the various frequencies to improve their efficiency. Through this process, some service providers who were hitherto providing services on the 1800 megahertz (MHz) spectrum band have been allowed to refarm and deploy services on the 4GLTE band. Through this, the Commission has been able to revive some of the companies whose services have been hampered by the characteristics of the frequencies.
“Through efficient monitoring and value-driven usage of spectrum for provision of different types of service, revenue generation for the Federal Government through frequency allocation and renewal fees have improved in the previous years. More than N47billion was realised in spectrum usage and licensing within the period under review.”
Dambatta who attributed the feat to the eight-point agenda he outlined for the Commission on his assumption of office in August last year, applauded President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister of Communications Adebayo Shittu for their support for the NCC and its new leadership.
He said the eight-point agenda which was factored upon the tripod of availability of service, accessibility of service and affordability has started to yield the desired results as the telecom sector now contributes more than 10 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country.
The NCC chief also warned mobile network operators (MNOs) subscriber identity module (SIM) card preregistration reminding them of the consequences of their action. He said the development was complicating the security situation in the country as unscrupulous elements use preregistered SIM cards to call the families of their kidnapped victims to negotiate ransom. He warned that the NCC has moved beyond direction on this to enforcement which he said is always the last resort.
Dambatta said the telecom sector had not only witnessed all round improvement and growth, but that specific areas of challenge such as infrastructure development, broadband penetration, improved services from service providers and development of regulatory frameworks were addressed headlong.