National roaming, infrastructure sharing will improve quality of service – NCC
By Theresa Igata
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) says National Roaming and Active infrastructure sharing have the potential of promoting seamless communication among subscribers by improving quality of service and bringing down cost in network deployment.
This was disclosed by the Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, Professor Umar Danbatta at a Stakeholders’ forum on the development of framework for National Roaming (agreement among operators to use each other’s networks to provide services in geographic areas where they have no coverage) and Active infrastructure sharing in Nigeria.
According to Danbatta who was represented by the Director Spectrum Administration, NCC, Austine Nwaulune, not only will there be noticeable reduction in network deployment costs, the industry will also witness acceleration in the take-up of broadband services and gradual elimination of the rural-urban digital divide.
“In furtherance of its commitment towards ensuring the continued growth and development of the telecoms industry, the commission has ensured that Nigeria remains relevant among the comity of nations adopting international best practices in the telecommunications sphere.
“Over the years, the commission has been in the forefront of encouraging innovations that would contribute to the growth and overall development of the telecommunications industry. From the development of regulatory frameworks for collocation/passive infrastructure sharing, mobile number portability to its most recent move to allow for spectrum trading.”
Danbatta added that the commission in 2017 inaugurated an Industry Working Committee to work out the procedure and modalities for implementing National Roaming and Active Infrastructure Sharing.
“The past few years have seen the trajectory of the global telecommunications industry shift towards the implementation of cost-saving mechanisms which facilitate the effective utilization of network resources for the provision of telecommunications services. National Roaming and Active Infrastructure Sharing are two of such initiatives which have been successfully utilized to achieve improved coverage, cost reduction and the efficient utilization of scarce network resources by Regulatory agencies”.
“To ensure that these benefits are realised, pertinent issues such as Quality of Service, Mobile Number Portability, issues of fair competition, billing and reconciliation, appropriate roaming agreements, extent of regulation required and the need to continue to incentivise operators to rollout infrastructure in underpopulated areas were considered in the articulation of the framework to be presented to stakeholders at this forum”, Danbatta said.
The chairman Industry Working Committee, IWC, and Director, Projects, NCC, Abubakar Yakubu disclosed that following the consultation paper published in December by the commission, and a number of pertinent questions that were raised on the implementation of National Roaming and Infrastructure Sharing, ” the responses to these questions as well as comments and inputs including network service providers, experts and other interested parties formed the basis for stakeholders’ engagement held in Abuja in 2016, to commence discussions towards the development of a legal and regulatory framework for the implementation of roaming services in Nigeria.”
“The setting up of the industry working committee to come up with the modalities for the implementation of National Roaming and Active Infrastructure Sharing in the country is not only a testimony of the commitment of the commission to policy of participatory regulation but also a demonstration that the commission can adopt the principle of self- regulation when it is exigent to do so”.
This is also in line with the commission’s tradition of sustaining participation, involvement, collaboration and consultation with crucial stakeholders on critical matters relevant to the telecommunications sector, Abubakar added.