Saturday, 19 September 2015

MTN SETS TO RIVAL DSTV AS IT SECURES N34BN DIGITAL PAY-TV LICENCE

Wow!!! The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has confirmed that MTN has secured N34bn licence to provide digital pay television broadcasting services in Nigeria. According to the NBC, it approved for MTN Nigeria part of the country’s 700MHz broadcasting spectrum solely for the purpose.

Yes, the NBC made this development known in order to counter the allegations that it sold the spectrum to MTN without recourse to transparency or the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), which is the telecommunications industry regulator that is empowered to sell such spectrum through a transparent auction.

Tectono Business Review gathered that the companies, which made the allegations, had insisted that the spectrum in question must be returned to the NCC as the rightful custodian. However, the NBC, dismissed the allegations, saying it was not a telecoms spectrum, but a broadcasting spectrum.

Mr. Emeka Mba, the Director-General, NBC, said: “I am pleased to inform you that we have successfully licensed MTN Nigeria to use a part of the 700MHz to provide digital pay-TV broadcasting services. We have thus raised N34bn, slightly less than 50 per cent of our budget. I am pleased to inform you, also, that through this singular move, Nigeria has once again pointed the way to other African countries struggling with the effort of finding financing for their own digital switchover programmes.

“It may be necessary to clarify that the use of the band, 470 – 862MHz, solely for UHF television broadcasting service on a primary basis in Nigeria predates both the NBC and NCC. As a matter of fact, most administrations in the International Telecommunications Union region 1 use the entire 470 – 862 MHz for UHF television broadcasting prior to ITU WRC-2007 conference.”

According to the DG of NBC, in 2006, the ITU planned the entire 470 – 862MHz frequency band for digital UHF television broadcasting for the region 1, to which the Nigerian administration belonged. He added that the planning of the 470 – 862MHz frequency band for digital UHF television was referred to in the ITU circle as GE-06 plan and that after the signing of the agreements resulting from this plan, it is now referred to as the GE-06 agreement.

He said the spectrum was sold to enable Nigeria to meet the June 17, 2015 deadline set by the ITU of transiting to digital terrestrial broadcasting, adding that despite that the announcement was in 2006 by ITU, it was not until June 17, 2012 that the White Paper giving direction to the process came out.