Radio frequency spectrum is one of Nigeria's key natural resources of great economic value as a result of its direct application in telecommunications, broadcasting, military operations, and scientific research in addition to a range of other socioeconomic activities such as social services, law enforcement, education, healthcare, transportation, etc. As a result, many industries depend heavily on the efficient utilization of radio frequency spectrum.
These crucial factors therefore, make it mandatory for the government to develop comprehensive and clear-cut policies that will ensure that spectrum resource is optimally utilised for the overall benefit of the nation. As an agency of Government, the NCC is charged with the responsibility to develop and adopt polices in accordance with the following policy objectives that will ensure that this scarce resource is well managed in its area of responsibility.
The NCC's Frequency Management Policy Objectives are as follows;
- To control and encourage the use of spectrum as an instrument for developing telecommunication (being) which is an essential infrastructure for stimulating the economic growth and social development of the nation.
- To promote competition in the assignment of frequency in order to ensure innovative and efficient use of the radio spectrum (as a scarce resource).
- To achieve optimum pricing of spectrum in order to discourage wastage or speculative acquisition of the scarce resource.
- To generate moderate revenue for government.
- To ensure equitable and fair allocation of spectrum to benefit the maximum number of users.
To achieve this goal, the NCC establishes policies inline with its mandate, which govern the following key frequency management functions;
- Spectrum Planning: Plan the spectrum under NCC’s control in order to make adequate provision for various services based on their relative importance to Nigeria’s socio-economic goals and also make forecast for future requirements.
- Frequency Assignment: Evolve fair, equitable and transparent procedures and conditions for the allocation and assignment of spectrum.
- Spectrum Farming: Continually and systematically phase out ageing technologies in order to free up new spectrum space for allocation to emerging technologies and new services.
- Licensing: Develop effective rules, operational procedures/guidelines for the purpose of regulating the use of spectrum in order to encourage sharing and ensure minimum interference with other users.
- Technical Specifications: Define technical utilization rules and specifications for radio frequency equipment and also administer equipment type approval and authorizations.
- Enforcement: Impose fines, penalties and sanctions for any violation of spectrum rules in order to maintain discipline in the use of spectrum.
- Monitoring: Monitor the use of spectrum for interference and occupancy levels in order to take corrective actions when necessary and to provide 3 information feedback for planning, management control and decision-making.
- Consultation: Hold regular consultation with experts in the industry including consultants and members of the academia in order to draw from their wealth of field experience and research findings in the area of spectrum management.
- Liaison: Maintain close liaison with all stakeholders in the industry including operators, other regulating bodies, Manufacturers, MOC, ITU, Professional Groups, security agencies and the general public in the spirit of participatory regulation.
- Tariff and Pricing: Determine fees payable for spectrum and evolve effective machinery for its collection.