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'Nigeria is mature enough for a secondary spectrum market'

'Nigeria is mature enough for a secondary spectrum market'.

Telecommunications companies operating in Nigeria believe that the West African country is mature enough to establish and sustain a secondary spectrum market.

Speaking through the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), the operators said several companies have 'idle spectrums' – this while some investors are searching for spectrum in order to roll out services.

ATCON President Lanre Ajayi, said: "Presently, there is large number of idle spectrums in custody of some operators while numerous investors are yearning for spectrum to roll out services. Since it takes a lot of hurdles to retrieve such spectrum from the owners, it makes sense to allow such owners sell to new buyers who may have a need for the spectrum.

"These will benefit everyone concerned. It benefits the seller, who may have challenges in rolling out after the acquisition of the spectrum. It benefits the buyer who now have spectrum to roll out services.

"It benefits consumers who are now able to obtain services, it benefits government who can take in more taxes. However, participation at secondary market should be limited to those who obtained spectrum through competitive bidding, like auction, to avoid a scenario where people use their contact to obtain spectrum from government and sell in the secondary market."

Ajayi also advised Professor Umar Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), that the regulator should introduce free spectrum as a strategy to attract small operators to unserved and under-served areas.

"We would like to recommend to NCC to make available some spectrum to operators for free. Big operators are mostly focused on commercial and very productive population centers. Small operators can easily mobilise to service small communities if appropriate incentives are given," he said.

He added: "Some countries in the world, including the United States, give unlicensed or lite licensed frequencies to operators to attract them to under-served or unserved communities and we would like to recommend this to NCC. This will not only ensure provision of services in those communities but also serve as a great opportunity to create jobs in the communities."

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