…As Reps tell NCC: Stop Teleology from claiming 9mobile ownership***
The Executive Vice Chairman of Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, has called for regulations and successful deployment of 5G network to foster economic development.
Danbatta made the call on the side-lines of a workshop themed “Future of Industry, Driving Innovation and Growth’’ organised by Global System Mobile Association (GSMA) in collaboration with NCC in Abuja.
The workshop brought together leaders from across the telecommunications industry and policymakers to discuss future regulations in the industry and push for consensus on reforms.
“The telecom industry is a key enabler of productivity across economies and societies.
“It is not only a significant contributor to economic activities of a Nation, but also towards the growth of other sectors of the economy.
“The proposed 5G networks are the next generation of connectivity in the telecommunications industry, offering faster speeds and more reliable connections on smart phones and other devices than ever before,’’ he said.
According to the NCC boss, it is imperative that issues of telecommunications be taken seriously to foster innovation and growth in the industry.
Danbatta noted that the factors hindering growth in the sector were policies, regulations and performance of networks and called for adequate measures to address them.
Similarly, Mr Akinwale Goodluck, Head of Sub-Saharan Africa, GSMA said Nigeria had always been in the forefront of development and should play a leadership position in the deployment of 5G services.
“Mobile connectivity has already improved the welfare of millions of Nigerians, opening doors to new digital possibilities and powering the country’s economic development.
“For Nigeria to take full advantage of the next phase of its digital transformation, it is vital that collaboration between industry and government enables the right policy environment for millions more to benefit from ultra-fast mobile broadband.
“If policies do not keep pace with the needs of society and technological innovation, there is a risk that citizens will be left behind and productivity and competitiveness will suffer,’’ Goodluck said.
The 5G network is expected to support a significantly faster mobile broadband speed and heavier data usage than previous generations while enabling full potential of the internet of things.
Mr Sunday Dare, Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management, Mr Gbenga Adebayo, Chairman, Association of Licensed Telecom Operators of Nigeria, Oluwatosin Bamidele, Chief Technical and Information Officer of Ntel were among stakeholders at the workshop.
In the meantime, the House of Representatives’ Committee on Telecommunications has asked the Nigeria Communications Commission to stop Teleology from claiming ownership of 9mobile, formerly known as Etisalat.
The committee on Wednesday evening grilled the Executive Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, over the sale of 9mobile to Teleology without the knowledge of the lawmakers.
The NCC however denied being part of the sale of 9mobile to Teleology, saying that the transaction was between the consortium of banks (creditors) who took over the company from Etisalat and the new operator.
The commission also disclosed that it had yet to issue an operational licence to Teleology.
In his opening remarks, Chairman of the Committee, Mr Saheed Akinade-Fijabi, said, “The last time we met, our decision was for everybody to go back and that anything that was happening on the sale, take-over or transfer of licence, the committee should know about it. Unfortunately, the committee read on the pages of newspapers that Teleology had taken over 9mobile.
“We as a committee do not know anybody called Teleology because they have never appeared before this committee. I believe that NCC should know whoever Teleology is and be able to help us to call them. Unfortunately, they are not here again today.”
Responding, Danbatta said NCC had yet to issue a new operational licence to Teleology apart from the one issued to the former owners.
He said, “Let me say again that no license has been transferred. I don’t know if this was reported in the news you read. The licence in the possession of EMTS which traded in the past as Etisalat and later with the approval of the NCC, as 9mobile, is still with EMTS.
“I want to assure this House that the operational licence of EMTS as well as the spectrum, these two licences are still with EMTS. No requests have been made by any new owners.”
“It is a marketing gimmick, Mr Chairman,” Danbatta added.
Responding after the clarification from the NCC boss, Akinade-Fijabi said, “With what NCC is saying now, they should stop parading themselves as someone who has taken over 9mobile.”
The Citizen with additional report from Punch