By: Tubaleye Lichipisa
The Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN) hosted a public consultative meeting on the Spectrum Assignment Strategy for the period 2022 to 2024 on 12 April 2022, in Windhoek. As per Section 99 of the Communications Act (No. 8 of 2009), CRAN is vested with the control, planning, administration, management and licensing of the radio frequency spectrum.
CRAN deems it prudent to keep abreast of the latest regulatory trends and technology developments to ensure the efficient use of spectrum as a limited resource, taking into account that spectrum forms the basis for development of the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector. Speaking at the consultative meeting, Mrs. Emilia Nghikembua, Chief Executive Officer, said,
“CRAN has developed a spectrum assignment strategy setting out objectives for spectrum management and providing clarity in respect of the Authority’s approach to the control, planning, management, administration and licensing of radio frequency spectrum.”
Radio frequency spectrum is a limited, finite national resource that is critical in providing the backbone, distribution, and last-mile solutions for commercial, civil, public, community, security, and personal communication services. It, therefore, requires adequate management to ensure equitable access and efficient utilization to meet the needs of all stakeholders. Spectrum management takes place within a regulatory framework comprised of policies, legislation, regulations and procedures.
“CRAN will fulfill its role through managing of spectrum in order to facilitate the availability of spectrum to be used as a tool to develop communications services and access to ICT infrastructure, as a basis for social and economic development to benefit from the digital transformation and opportunities presented by the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR),”
CRAN aims to promote competition through minimization of constraints on spectrum use within a service and technology-neutral license regime allowing similar services to be offered on different technology platforms. It also promotes the effective and efficient use of spectrum within the digital divide, and to address gaps in communications services and access to ICT networks and utilization of these services. Furthermore, CRAN sets conditions for spectrum use to ensure efficient use of scarce resources and prevent anti-competitive practices such as hoarding of the spectrum, and to free up spectrum space for assignment to emerging technologies and service by phasing out aging technologies.
“CRAN will review the frequency band plan, at least every four (4) years based on the outcomes of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) World Radio Conference (WRC) and subsequent ITU regulations, and amend frequency band allocations and regulations as required, following due regulatory process. Where spectrum licensees are required to migrate to new frequencies, as a result of a new Frequency Band Plan coming into effect, the Authority will address each migration on a case-by-case basis in accordance with the Regulations Setting out Spectrum Licensing Procedures,”
concluded Nghikembua. Overall, harmonization in the use of radio spectrum is crucial to ensure amongst others, interoperability between systems and networks, facilitating frequency coordination between countries and establishing international systems.