NCC Set To License MVNOs Before Year End

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The Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) has restated its commitment to concluding the process of licensing companies to operate as Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) before the end of this year, 2022. The licensing MVNOs in the country is part of a strategic effort to ensure the provision of qualitative and efficient telecommunications services throughout the country.

Professor Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (EVC/CEO), NCC, made this known at the Business Remarks Telecom Sector Sustainability Forum (TSSF) which held in Lagos Tuesday. 

The session, which had the theme “Creating Awareness and Ensuring Sustainability of Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) in Nigeria’s 5G Ecosystem” was a platform to address the viability of MVNOs in Nigeria and how licensed players in this space will contribute to Nigeria’s digital economy agenda.

According to Prof Danbatta, “Pursuant to the NCA 2003, Licensing Regulation 2019, and other subsidiary Regulations, the Commission has created an enabling environment where various players provide diverse services based on licenses issued by the Commission.”

He explained that the Commission, in its drive to create an enabling environment, introduced the MVNOs License that will generate employment and bridge the gap between the unserved and the Underserved in Society. It will also further engender competition and provide choices for telecommunication consumers, he added.

According to the MVNO guidelines released by the NCC earlier this year, the cost of the license which comes in five (5) different categories ranges from N30 million to N250 million. The Five (5) Tier classification that has distinctive services to be offered by the players in different tiers as listed as follows: Tier 1 is a Virtual Operator; Tier 2, a Simple Facilities Operator; Tier 3, a Core Facilities Operator; while Tier 4 is a Virtual Aggregator/ Enabler and Tier 5, the Unified Virtual Operator

Prof. Danbatta was ably represented by Alhaji Mohammed Babajika, Director, Licensing And Authorization, at the NCC.

Bukola Olanrewaju, the Convener of the forum, noted the introduction of MVNOs will add value for both operators and customers; for the operators, there is an opportunity to utilize available excess capacity and for the customers, uncommon access to innovative and several niche value service offerings that were not offered by the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs).

She argued that the MVNOs will no doubt play an important role in advancing and driving Nigeria’s digital economy agenda.

MVNOs are communication service providers which do not operate their infrastructure but use the capacity of MNOs to provide and deliver services to their customers. From the consumer side, MVNOs can provide more competitive offerings, which means lower costs without compromising on service. Utilizing network capacity without having to own it frees up costs that are then invariably passed down to the consumer.

The maturity of the nation’s telecommunications industry and mobile market is believed to contribute to the emergence of MVNOs.