NBC defends award of 700MHz spectrum to MTN

17 Sep 2015

The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has reportedly awarded spectrum in the 700MHz band to MTN Nigeria, the country’s largest mobile operator by subscribers. Local newspaper This Day quotes the NBC’s director general, Emeka Mba, as saying that the licensing would help fund the digital switchover process, which would lead to more spectrum being freed up and reallocated. In response to criticism that telecoms regulator the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) was not informed of or involved in the spectrum deal, Mba said that the NBC is responsible for frequencies in the 700MHz band, as it is broadcasting spectrum. ‘The NBC and the NCC regulate separate and clearly demarcated sections of the spectrum. Each administers its own bundle without interference from the other. The basis for prior notification of the NCC ahead of the licensing of MTN does not arise at all, constitutionally, legally and by regulatory practice. The licence issued was for a converged digital broadcasting licence based on the existing National Frequency Management Commission (NFMC) protocol for broadcast,’ he said.