Business Hilights
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2 months after, NCC dumps sanctions over illegal use of 5.4GHz band

Contrary to earlier notice of sanctions for illegal use of the 5.4GHz frequency band by listed 63 companies and agencies of government in 11 states, there are indications that the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has quashed the plan.

Business Hilights recalls that early September this year, the Commission in a document signed by its Director of Public Affairs, Henry Nkemadu accused the trespassing firms and agencies of illegal access and mentioned that sanctions are underway.

However, two months after, checks in some of the affected companies showed that nothing serious was done after all.

NCC had in the document made it clear that culprits risk sanctions, including imprisonment, fine and confiscation of equipments put to use on the band illegally.

Out of the 63 trespassing entities, three are government agencies; six are banks, and 55 telecoms and technology companies.

The identified companies operate in Akwa-Ibom; Benue; Cross River; Delta; Edo; Enugu; Imo; Kaduna; Kano; Lagos, and Oyo states.

The memo sent to all the listed companies said the 5.4GHz band spanning 5.430-5.725GHz frequency range has been licensed in Nigeria and that any transmission of signals or use of equipment in any form on the band without a frequency license obtained from the NCC is illegal.

Analysts said the Federal Government may have lost huge amount that would have accrued as fines and sanctions had it been the NCC put paid to its publicized threats after all.

Listed companies and agencies include Kaduna State Government House; Lagos Internal Revenue Service; Project E-Delta; DSS; Polaris Bank; First Bank; Access Bank; Union Bank; AB Microfinance Bank; Bet Naija; Orange Drug Limited; Churchgate; IPNX; Cobranet; Hyperia; NETCO; Computer Warehouse; Helios Tower; IHS; MainOne; Priority Communications; K-Kon; VDT, Swift Talk

Others are MTN, Globacom, Airtel; 9Mobile; Vodacom; Crust Resoources; Cyberspace; Nova Business Centre; Sky Link; Centre Point; Electronics Connections; E-Stream; Cobranet, among others.

Additional details showed that in Akwa Ibom, those affected use 5.547GHz; Benue 5.489 to 5.584GHz; Cross River 5.5189 to 5.600GHz; Delta 5.5987 to 5.700GHz; Edo 5.601 to 5.6989GHz; Enugu 5.489 to 5.618GHz; Imo 5,489 to 5.612GHz.

Others are Kaduna 5.45 to 5.5GHz; Kano 5.6673 to 5.7107GHz; Lagos 5.6756 to 5.6978GHz, and Oyo 5.616 to 5.680GHz.

The memo signed by Dr Nkemadu read in parts: “Companies, government agencies; telecommunications service providers; private companies or any person(s) using this band in the designated places mentioned should note that it is a criminal offence pursuant to section 122 NCA, 2003 to operate in any frequency not duly assigned by the commission.

“The consequences of such act may lead to imprisonment, sanction and confiscation of equipment used in operating the illegal services,” NCC stated.

Though the memo gave a 14 day enforcement notice to all the unauthorized operators on the band spanning 5.430 to 5.725GHz to forthwith vacate and desist from further transmission of signals or use of equipment in any form on the band without authorization, there has not been further detail to show that the illegal use of the regulated resource had stopped.