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2020 dare for 5G roll out

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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said Nigeria would be ready to roll out 5G networks with the 26GHz, 38GHz and 42GHz spectrum bands by 2020.

The Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, said this in Abuja Thursday during a collaborative meeting with GSMA for 5G rollout in Nigeria.

According to him, trial testing of the rollout plan has commenced in the country beginning with the Eko Atlantic Project, where broadband data will drive connectivity and allow humans to interact with connected devices to check their health status and remotely control home appliances without physical contact.

Danbatta acknowledged the deficit in infrastructure rollout and spectrum availability in the country but added that the NCC was already working to address the challenges.

He said NCC would begin with the available 26GHz, 38GHz and 42GHz to drive 5G rollout in the country.

Danbatta said, “NCC is already working on the three key factors that will drive 5G deployments, which include infrastructure, spectrum and regulation ahead of the 2020 rollout date.

“We will rely on existing policies and regulation and still come up with additional policies and regulation that will address any hiccups.”

Also speaking, the Head, sub-Saharan Africa for GSMA, Mr. Akinwale Goodluck, said although Nigeria still operates 2G and 4G networks, they will gradually give way for 5G as the demand for 5G increases among the millennial, who are the digital natives.

GSMA used the occasion of the collaborative meeting to launch its latest report, which focused on ‘Spotlight on Nigeria: Delivering a Digital Future.’

According to the report, modernising regulation and policy reform will be crucial to boosting Nigeria’s digital economy and accelerating internet access for millions through increased mobile broadband penetration.

GSMA research shows that the mobile market in Nigeria makes an important contribution to the economy. The mobile industry contributed $21 billion to GDP in 2017, representing 5.5 per cent of Nigeria’s total GDP.

In addition, the growth of Nigeria’s digital economy resulted in the creation of nearly 500,000 direct and indirect jobs, the report said.

Addressing the issue of spectrum to drive 5G rollout, GSMA identified support for and release of harmonised spectrum and a modernised licensing framework as fundamental building blocks for Nigeria’s digital future.

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Reps Halts Teleology’s Takeover of 9mobile

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The House of Representatives has directed the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) to stop Teleology Holdings Limited from assuming ownership of Etisalat, now known as 9mobile.

The recommendation came Wednesday after the House of Representatives Committee on Telecommunications questioned the Executive Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, on the sale of 9mobile to Teleology without informing the National Assembly.

The committee chairman, Hon. Saheed Akinade-Fijabi had contended that the committee must be carried along in the sale, take-over or transfer of license of 9mobile, but contrary to that, the members said they were reading on the pages of newspapers that Teleology had taken over 9mobile.

He said: “We as a committee do not know anybody called Teleology because they have never appeared before this committee. I believe NCC should know whoever Teleology is and be able to help us to call them.”

The NCC also denied knowledge of the sale of 9mobile to Teleology, because according to Danbatta, NCC is yet to issue a new operating license to Teleology.

“No licence has been transferred. I don’t know if this was reported in the news you read. But 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,” Danbatta said.

The committee has however invited Teleology to appear before it and Danbatta gave assurances to the committee that he would extend their invitation to Teleology.

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N701.9 billion fund threatens power supply

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Electricity generation companies (Gencos) in Nigeria’s power sector yesterday warned that the prevailing nationwide power supply situation may decline significantly from December as the N701.9 billion payment assurance scheme initiated by the federal government through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc (NBET), is drawn down.

The fund will be drawn down before 2019 that it is originally designed to last. The fund was put in place to guarantee prompt payments for power supplied to the grid. Already, the Gencos stated that gas suppliers had begun to issue the notice of disconnection, adding that the Alaoji Independent Power Plant owned by the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) has been disconnected from gas supply by Total while First Independent Power Limited in Rivers State has equally been issued a notice of disconnection.
But their claims, which were made at the 2018 edition of the Power Safety Summit (PSS) in Abuja, have been debunked by the NBET, which said there was no cause for alarm, and that it was working hard to ensure payments to Gencos for power supplied to the national grid were made promptly.

The Gencos’ warning and NBET’s assurance also coincided with the disclosure at the summit by the Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA) that a total of 453 people had died of electricity-related accidents in the country’s power sector within the last 46 months.

The N701 billion was obtained as a loan from the CBN by the NBET to enable it to meet up with payments to Gencos for power supplied to the grid considering that monthly remittances of the 11 electricity distribution companies (Discos) to it for power sold to them have remained inadequate to pay the Gencos.

Speaking on the sidelines of the PSS shortly after making a presentation, the Executive Secretary of the Association of Power Generation Companies (APGC) which is the umbrella trade association of the Gencos, Dr. Joy Ogaji, stated that the Gencos were worried the stop-gap fund was fast depleting and would not last more than December 2018.

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NCC to support telcos in the face of new challenges

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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday in Lagos said it was not unaware of the debilitating challenge faced by telcos as a result of the activities of Over The Top (OTT) service providers.

Its Executive Vice Chairman/CEO, Prof Garba Dambatta, told some licensees of the Commission during the annual stakeholders meeting with them at Lagos Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Ikeja, that much of the problems of the industry could be traced to lax governance standards.

He said the Commission expected all licensees (including those or whom the Code is not yet mandatory) to review their governance practices to better conform with the code.

Dambatta said the Commission is not disregarding the impact of the disruptive changes brought about by advancements in technology, changing values and growing efficiency. According to him,  the consequence of the mix is that businesses are having to grapple with staying alive as their turnover takes successive hits by of OTT services that are eating into traditional revenue at a pace that barely allows legacy companies room to respond to the changes taking place.

“Licensees had drawn attention to the impact on their operations and viability, and the NCC is actively weighing alternatives.

“Even as we gather here to ponder individual and collective responses to the disruption by emerging technologies, new discoveries and inventions are coming out that could diminish the value of investments being made in the telecoms sector. But are we to allow the sector to be forced into inaction because of the pace at which new technologies and systems are emerging? The response is no.

“I am aware that players in the sector are struggling to innovate and to deploy creative ideas for remaining relevant in an age when the life cycle of a concept is barely longer than six months. I assure you of the full support of the NCC in this quest,” Dambatta said.

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Why Telecom services in 10 states maybe affected

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There are palpable fears that 10 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, may experience a total outage of telecoms services in the next few days, following the shutdown of several base stations by the Kogi State Internal Revenue Service.

telecommunications towers

The affected states, which are sharing borders with Kogi State, are Nasarawa, Benue, Enugu, Anambra, Edo, Ondo, Ekiti, Kwara and Niger States.
The Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), which raised the alarm yesterday in Lagos during a press conference, said as on Friday last week, the number of telecoms sites (base stations) affected was 70, but that as at yesterday, the number of affected sites had risen to 150, and more sites are likely to be affected in the next few days that will lead to total outage of telecoms services in the nine states.

Chairman of ALTON, Mr Gbenga Adebayo, said the total outage would not only affect telecoms services but would also affect banking services like Automated Teller Machines (ATM) and Point of Sales (PoS) that are used for financial transactions since such financial services are delivered on the platform of telecoms infrastructure.

He said the imminent outage would also affect national security issues in the nine states and Abuja, should there be any delay in addressing the issue.
Adebayo, therefore, called on the presidency, the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), to call Kogi State government to order before its action would cripple telecommunications service offerings in the country.

According to Adebayo, he was surprised at the action of Kogi State Internal Revenue Service because letters had been written from the ONSA instructing all states to desist from shutting down telecoms base stations, but should rather resort to dialogue since telecoms infrastructure is rated as critical national infrastructure that should not be tampered with at the slightest provocation.

Adebayo said, “ALTON wishes to express its concern about the shutting down of telecommunications facilities in Kogi State as a result of disputes arising from unusual taxes and levies demanded by the Kogi State government through its Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning, Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources, Kogi State Environmental Protection Board, championed by the Kogi State Internal Revenue Service (KIRS).

“This situation arises as a number of critical telecommunications sites belonging to our members have been closed and sealed up by Kogi State Government in an attempt to increase its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) collection.”
Explaining what led to the shut down, Adebayo said the state action followed an ex-parte court order obtained by the Kogi State Internal Revenue Service over unsubstantiated allegations that telecoms operators were in default of tax payments to the state government, which is not the truth, and access to these critical telecoms sites has been denied.

He explained, “As a result

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