NCC awaits board approval as MVNO licensing nears
•Service comes with 10-year tenure
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), having reiterated its commitment towards the licensing of Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) in Nigeria, said it hopes to finalise everything about it before the end of the year.
While it was learnt that the commission awaits final board ratification of the scheme, the NCC, at a forum in Lagos, organised by Business Remarks, themed: “Creating Awareness and Ensuring Sustainability of MVNOs in Nigeria’s 5G Ecosystem,” said the service is needed in the country to further drive innovation.
A mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) is a wireless communications services provider that does not own the wireless network infrastructure over which it provides services to its customers.
In his keynote address, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, said the commission was committed to improving telecommunications services, especially with the introduction of the MVNO license and the deployment of 5G.
“The commission has introduced mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) licences that will generate employment and also bridge the gap between the unserved and the underserved in society. It will also further engender competition and provide choices for telecommunications consumers,” he said.
Danbatta, who was represented by NCC Director of Licensing and Authorisation, Alhaji Mohammed Babajika, noted that the MVNO license is a Five Tier classification that has distinctive services to be offered by the players in different tiers.
According to him, each of these license categories has a long duration of 10 years validation tenure before renewal. Speaking further, he stated the commission is currently restructuring all its licenses due to global technological advancement.
This includes the terms of the license, scope, conditions, limitations, benchmark and also the pricing policies as some of these are already obsolete.
Recall the Nigeria telecoms regulator extended the deadline for the submission of applications for MVNO licenses following several requests by prospective MVNO’s and MNO’s arising from the magnitude of the grant requirements being the first of its nature in the industry and to get the host MNOs abreast.
Babajika, who applauded NCC for introducing MVNO into Nigeria’s telecoms space, said the four weeks extension terminated on October 11, 2022 and applications are already ongoing in an evaluation process.
For further clarification, he noted that the NCC board has already set up a committee for the evaluation and the making of appropriate recommendations thereafter for take-off of the service.
The NCC boss also advised that negotiations with host mobile network operators should commence immediately after the grant of the licence and such agreements would be filed with the commission.
“It is therefore imperative for industry stakeholders to collaborate on various efforts that will contribute positivity while continuing to ensure that operations are conducted within the respective telecommunication licenses, and that service challenges and demands are adequately delivered” Danbatta urged.
In her opening speech, the convener and Managing Editor of Business Remarks, Bukola Olanrewaju, noted that with the appropriate regulatory environment and access to infrastructure, MVNOs in emerging markets like Africa can be steered in the same direction.
She said the Adroit Market Research predicted that the MVNO market will reach $112 billion by 2025 due to this growth and the latest evolutionary wave is seeing MVNOs capture 10 to 40 per cent of mobile business in developed markets.
“The introduction of Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) is believed to add value for both operators and customers; for the operators by using their available excess capacity and for the customers by offering innovative and several niche value-added services that were not offered by Mobile Network Operators (MNOs),” she added.