The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has revealed that it generated over N47 billion from the sales and renewal of spectrum licences alone in the last one year.
The Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, who made the disclosure yesterday in Abuja during the celebration of his one year in office, said the commission generated the funds from various auctions and sale of spectrum licences to telecoms operators and Internet Service Providers (ISPs), as well as renewal in just one year.
While listing the achievements of NCC, through collective efforts in the last one year, in relation to the commission’s eight-point agenda, Danbatta said NCC encouraged the re-farming of previous frequencies in order to improve on their efficiency.
“Through the process, some service providers who were hitherto providing services on the 1800MHz spectrum band, have been allowed to re-farm and deploy services on the 4G LTE technology band. Through this, NCC has been able to revive some of the companies whose services have been hampered by the characteristics of the frequencies,” he said.
He explained that spectrum monitoring had improved to ensure sanity in the industry, and that NCC currently deployed four Anmtsu Spectrum Analysers, leading to more efficiency in radio spectrum monitoring.
Speaking on the commission’s achievement in the last one year of his administration as Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Danbatta said broadband remained the fulcrum on which the commission’s 8 point agenda stands, and that broadband penetration has improved from 10 per cent penetration in 2013 to 14 per cent penetration in 2016.
He said Nigeria would certainly meet up with the 30 per cent broadband penetration by 2018, as projected by the country’s National Broadband Plan.
He further quoted documents recently released by the International Telecoms Union (ITU) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), which states that the Nigerian mobile broadband penetration has reached 20.95 per cent.
He said one of the key ingredients for the successful implementation of broadband penetration is the availability of a robust regulatory framework, upon which an appropriate strategy could be based.
“We have been able to articulate a regulatory framework that will enable strategic and systematic licensing and deployment of broadband infrastructure across the country. A broadband implementation and monitoring committee has also been established within the commission to give proper assessment on regular basis of broadband infrastructure deployment,” Danbatta said.
Addressing the issue of broadcast of unsolicited text messages to subscribers, Danbatta said NCC would continue to protect telecoms subscribers and ensure that appropriate santon is imposed on telecoms operators, who continue to ignore NCC’s directive on the broadcast of unsolicited text messages. Danbatta reminded operators that the fine of N5 million still stands for any operator that violates the directive on unsolicited text messages.
Meanwhile, Danbatta, yesterday faulted the office of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) for not crediting remittances of N80 billion paid by MTN to the Federation Account through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)
Fielding questions from journalists at a media interactive session in Abuja, the NCC boss, said the commission had written to the AGF’s office requesting that the money be credited to the commission’s account, from where it would be transferred to the consolidated revenue account of the federal government.
Asked on the status of the fine paid by MTN, he said: “Because the agreement was reached with NCC, we have written a letter to the AGF requesting that money be credited to the NCC account domiciled in the same CBN from where it will be transferred into the Consolidated Revenue Account of the federal government.
“MTN had indeed reached an agreement, we call it amicable settlement agreement on which basis they will be paying N330 billion over period of three years.”
He admitted that MTN had since paid N50billion into an account domiciled at the CBN.
Explaining further on the payment status by the telecommunication operator, he admitted that in addition to the N50 billion paid, they have also paid N30 billion.
The EVC said: “So this year, they have fulfilled their agreement on what they are supposed to pay. They have so far paid N80 billion out of N330 billion they are to pay. So that is the position at the moment.”