NCC suspends issuance of operational licenses

By Oluwaseyi Lawal

The Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) has announced a temporary suspension on issuing new licenses to operators in three specific categories.

The affected categories are the Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) License, Interconnect Exchange License, and Value Added Service (VAS) Aggregator License. A virtual operator is a company that, without owning a mobile spectrum license, offers mobile services using the network of a licensed mobile operator, with currently at least 25 such operators in existence.

The Interconnect Exchange License facilitates the interconnection of more than two independent entities to enable the transfer of electronic communications.

VAS aggregators offer non-core network telecommunication services that go beyond standard voice calls. These services encompass internet access, directory services, paging services, voicemail, prepaid calling card services, call center services, content services, and vehicle tracking.

The NCC stated that this suspension aligns with its authority under the Nigerian Communications Act 2003 to issue, renew licenses, and ensure fair competition.

In a public notice shared on its X handle on Friday, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) announced a temporary suspension to allow for a comprehensive review of key factors such as market saturation, competition levels, and current market dynamics.

The notice, titled “Temporary Suspension Of The Issuance Of Communications Licenses’ In Three Categories,” was signed by Reuben Muoka, the Director of the Public Affairs Department at the NCC.

The notice read, “In line with its powers under the Nigerian Communications Act 2003 to grant and renew licenses, promote fair competition and develop the Communications Industry, the Nigerian Communications Commission (The Commissions) hereby informs all stakeholders of a temporary suspension on issuance of new licenses in the following categories, Interconnect Exchange License, Mobile Virtual Network Operator License and Value Added Service Aggregator License.”

“This temporary suspension is necessary to enable the commission to conduct a thorough review of several key areas within these categories, including the current level of competition, market saturation and current market dynamics.”

However, the commission clarified that this new directive does not impact pending applications, which will still be evaluated on their merits.

“The public is invited to note that during the suspension period commencing on 17th of May, 2024, new applications for the aforementioned licenses will not be accepted. This is without prejudice to pending applications before the Commission which will be considered on its merits. Any enquiries of clarification in respect of this Suspension Notice should be forwarded to: [email protected],” the statement read.

Recently, the telecommunications sector has encountered numerous issues, raising concerns about sustainability and efficient service delivery in the face of ongoing economic challenges.


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