The Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN) last week held a public consultative meeting on the proposed Market Study on the determination of dominant position in the telecommunications sector, and the regulations prescribing fees for spectrum licences, certificates and examinations.
Speaking at the public consultative meeting acting CEO of the Authority Jochen Traut said the public hearings were hosted under Section 78 of the Communications Act (No. 8 of 2009) and regulation 4 of the regulations regarding rule-making procedures, which makes provision for CRAN to host a public consultative meeting to provide stakeholders with an opportunity and a platform to raise public views, concerns and opinions, as well as to obtain clarity on whether a certain licensee should or should not be categorised as a dominant player.
Also, the provisions of the Communications Act and the competition regulations aim to prevent abuse of market power and, thus, permits the regulator to have a different approach in terms of regulations for dominant operators.
Furthermore, Traut said regulators conduct market studies to safeguard fair competition for all players. It is through the heightened regulation of licensees that hold a dominant position in the market that consumers and industry can equally benefit. Consumers can benefit through the direct result of affordable user prices, improved products, and services. This effort further creates an efficient market investment.
The process resulted in identifying two markets at the time, namely the telecommunication services and broadcasting services markets. Dominance was only declared for the telecommunications service market and MTC, Leo (at the time), and Telecom Namibia were declared dominant operators. The 2016 market study defined four (4) priority markets, namely, fixed and mobile call termination, wired end-user access, national data transmission, and wireless end-user access.
He said: “The objectives of the regulations pertaining to spectrum fees is to enforce the efficient use of radio frequency spectrum through the optimum occupancy thereof and the implementation of more spectrally efficient equipment. spectrum is a finite resource and therefore, the setting of fees is necessitated to discourage hoarding and inefficient utilisation of spectrum”.
According to him, the Authority sets spectrum fees considering the demand for radio frequency spectrum in a given spectrum band and the impact of inflation as indicated by the annual Consumer Price Index (CPI) as published by the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) on its official website from time to time.
Moreover, these spectrum fee regulations do not apply to spectrum licences assigned through spectrum auction, until such a time that the initial licence period has lapsed and the Authority has renewed the spectrum licence.