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NCC: MTN’s listing’ll spur other telcos

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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday said the listing of South African Telecom giant MTN on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) would open doors for other  big telcos   to be listed on the NSE.

It said this will lead to rapid increase in Foreign Direct Investments (FDI ) and infrastructural development for the industry.

Speaking reporters at the Headquarters of the NCC in Abuja, its Executive Commissioner, Stakeholders Management, Mr Sunday Dare, said NCC was involved in the procedures and processes that led to the listing of the telecoms giant.

He added that notwithstanding the on-going investigations, the Commission played its regulatory and supervisory roles regarding the matter without any form of misgivings.

Mr Dare who spoke on a wide range of issues, said Nigeria is ready for the deployment of 5G technology in the industry, saying all the legal frameworks and other technical issues regarding its deployment have been considered by all stakeholders.

He however regretted that the biggest challenge to the telecom industry is electricity supply and fibre cuts, stating that over 24,000 base stations (BTS) across the country are being powered by generators for an average of between 18 and 22 hours per day.

Mr Dare also said in line with global best practices, Nigeria would soon migrate from data capturing of five fingers to 10 fingers to make the process of subscriber identity module (SIM) cards registration more credible. He added that this would improve security and accelerate growth and development of the country.

Mr Dare said: “A few months ago, we had a forum on 5G readiness where all critical stakeholders comprehensively examined the legal, regulatory and technology issues and we are developing a roadmap.  So to say NCC is not getting the industry ready, is again, a mark of either ignorance or mischief.

“In addition to 5G, we have opened up consultations on spectrum for drones, etc. We are proactively leading discussions on the deployment of new technologies and other infrastructures. ”

The Executive Commissioner further said the NCC has licensed six infrastructural companies (Infracos) with roll out status to provide fibre optics for all the 774 local government councils in the country, saying this development would lead to improved quality of services and coverage of 200 remote villages across the country.

“The fact is that about two years ago, NCC proactively identified about 200 remote communities which do not have coverage and began working with operators through the USPF to fill these gaps. What we are doing is trying to get these communities to leapfrog 2G networks and see how we can start them on broadband networks where economically feasible.

“At that time, we said that the population of the communities is up to 35 million. The issue is that it is not as if these people have not seen phones, it is that they do not have regular coverage. And between now and then a lot of grounds have been covered, ” Mr Dare said.

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