" ITREALMS: NCC says ‘No’ to new license on LTE

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

NCC says ‘No’ to new license on LTE

•To meet Ringim over killing

There is no hope in sight for those operators who may be expecting new operating licenses, mostly for the deployment of Long Term Evolution (LTE), even as national broadband strategy would soon be unveiled.

This is coming as the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) plans to meet the acting Inspector General of Police, Mr. Hafiz Abubakar Ringim, over the recent killing of about seven telecom maintenance personnel in Aba, Abia State.

Long Term Evolution is the project name of a new high performance air interface for cellular mobile communication systems, according to the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI).

Giving these indications at the Independence and 58th edition of the Telecom Consumer Parliament (TCP) which held in Lagos, weekend, the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Eugene Juwah made it clear that the Commission is not considering licensing of any new spectrum to drive home the emerging LTE into the nation’s market.

The 58th edition of TCP was held on the theme of “Broadband Availability in Nigeria: Prospects and Challenges.”

Dr. Juwah while responding to request by one of the operators that as a way of ensuring practical diffusion of the two marine cables already in the country, namely the Glo 1 and MainOne, that a new license should be introduced to accommodate LTE, noted that most of the mobile operators have not exhausted their licenses, thus there is no need to start worrying about new spectrum licensing.

According to him, LTE could still be integrated into 3G which is awash in the industry, stressing that asking for LTE licenses on another spectrum would amount to jumping the gun.

“There is no need for LTE now,” he declared.

Juwah said that it’s only MTN that has met its mobile penetration among all the operators since the evolution of Global System for Mobile (GSM) communication.

For Glo Mobile, he said, that it’s High-Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) which is an enhanced Third Generation (3G) mobile telephony communications protocol has not been optimised, even as HSDPA+ is still fallow, stressing that Globacom should take advantage of Glo 1 to push for market penetration of its already existing licenses more so as the Second National Operator (SNO).

As said by him, the likes of Zain are still much a General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) based operator; a packet oriented mobile data service on the 2G and 3G cellular communication systems.

Speaking earlier, Glo’s Head, Network Operation, Mr. Aremu Olajide, said that with the landing of Glo-1 cable the cost of data would come down. He admonished Nigeria consumers of telecom to see the need to do more in terms of protecting telecom infrastructure, attributing most of the hiccups witness in quality of service delivery to intrusions like vandalisation and outright stealing of infrastructure or even damaging same.

While the General Counsel for MainOne, Mr. Kazeem Oladepo, said there is a huge market for broadband in the country, he noted that broadband market is beyond Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt.

Oladepo also pointed out that with MainOne’s 1.92 Terabyte and Glo’s 2 Terabytes, the consumers in the country would be best served and urged consumers to look forward to having exciting experience, especially with data.

Equally in his remarks at a session with the chief executive officers of operating companies, last Friday, Juwah noted that the issue of Quality of Service (QoS) across the networks has reached a disturbing rate.

“During my appointment, even during our screening at the Senate before confirmation, this issue was a recurring decimal and I have given my word to government that we are going to resolve it,” he said.

The NCC boss disclosed that the Commission has taken this matter seriously and within weeks of resumption, has set up a Task Force to evolve immediate solutions to address this matter.

While soliciting utmost cooperation of operators in addressing the issue of QoS, Juwah noted that as the season of celebrations draw nearer that movement of subscribers would increase.

“I hope that the service providers have taken adequate measures to handle the movement of subscribers,” he appealed.

Telecom consumers, he emphasised occupy a very important place in his administration, therefore, they occupy an important place majorly as the source of revenues to the operating companies but also because they deserve to be treated fairly.

“They form a very important stakeholder in the business. Our performance will be measured by the satisfaction of the average subscriber. We will continue with several of the Commission’s consumer related issues such as the Consumer Parliament and related outreach activities. We hope the operating companies will complement these efforts to empower the consumers,” he said.

Further, Juwah advised operators to consider improving their Short Messaging Service (SMS) by cutting down on the prices, mostly since it helps in decongesting the networks.

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