The Nigeria Communications Commission has revealed its plans to begin the issuance of licences to Mobile Virtual Network Operators in the country.
The Director, Licensing and Authorisation Department, NCC, Mr Mohammed Babajika, disclosed that the commission has finalised the framework for Mobile Virtual Network Operators and is currently in the process of licensing MVNOs.
He said this during the first `Talk-To-The Regulator` Forum for the Year, 2023, a two-day event held in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
According to him, the licensing of MVNOs would improve the telecommunication output of the country, enable the expansion and availability of quality mobile coverage and close the gap between the unserved and underserved population in Nigeria.
Babajika explained that the commission is currently reviewing its license categories in line with global trends because it recognises that technological advancements in the industry such as artificial intelligence, big data, network as a service and the Internet of Things were redefining service delivery.
“While the Commission is fully committed to discharging its mandate, it can only achieve this with the cooperation and support of Licensees. The Commission, therefore, recognizes the importance of various service providers and seeks to constantly engage with these service providers and thereby protect the health and growth of the telecoms industry,” he said.
Earlier in his remarks, the Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, Prof Umar Danbatta represented by the Head Pre-Licensing, NCC, Mr Usman Mamman, said that currently, the commission is reviewing the scope and structure of its existing licenses to make them more robust and to accommodate some of the identified new industry trends.
He stated that NCC has taken measures to improve regulations to accommodate the rapid and continuous development to keep up to date with developments in the industry.
Some of the interventions of the commission he noted include, facilitating the roll-out of 5G service provision and the introduction of a Mobile Virtual Network Operator Licence to bridge the gap between unserved and underserved areas, among others.
“In line with the Nigeria National Broadband Plan (NNBP 2020 – 2025), the NCC is providing industry leadership to facilitate the achievement of 90% Broadband penetration by 2025, and well above 50% at the end of 2023.
Currently, over 150 million Nigerians have access to the internet, while over eighty (80) million can access high-speed internet,” he added.
The ‘Talk-To-The Regulator’ Forum is a common platform for non-discriminatory interaction on a one-on-one basis, between the Licensees and the Regulator on several industry issues, pertinent to the Licensees and of national interest.