9 November 2012

Nigeria: NCC Moves to Address Unfair Practices in Telecoms Sector

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said it is ready to maintain a stable and competitive telecoms market with a level playing field for all players in the sector.

Executive Vice-Chairman, Dr. Eugene Juwah, who restated the commission's commitment in Lagos Thursday at a stakeholders' forum, said it would achieve it by addressing all factors that would lead to unhealthy competition in the industry.

"We are determined to deepen competition in the industry, and we will continue to uphold out principle as a foremost transparent regulatory agency as we develop regulatory initiatives to deepen competition in the market," Juwah said.

To achieve this, the commission, in September this year, engaged the services of KPMG Consulting, an independent consultant on professional services, to carry out a study on assessment of the current level of competition in the telecoms industry.

As part of the efforts to accomplish the mandate, NCC organised a stakeholders' meeting in Lagos, to sample opinion and get inputs from telecoms operating companies as well as telecoms stakeholders on the current level of competition in the telecoms industry.

The consultancy will seek to define the various markets for telecommunications services in the country; determine dominance in one or more telecoms market; provide mergers and acquisitions and takeovers to forestall anti-competition practices; develop regulatory guidelines for competition in specific telecoms market, among others.

Speaking on the challenges that anti-competition could result to in the telecoms market, Director, Policy Competition and Economic Analysis for NCC, Mrs. Lolia Emakpore, insisted that healthy competition was good for the industry, but said that anti-competition would stifle growth in the industry, and could push smaller operators out of business, if not addressed.

Responding, telecoms operators commended NCC for the initiative, explaining that it will help strengthen the telecoms industry. Airtel representative at the forum, Mr. Shola Adeyemi advised that merger and acquisition of small and weak operators would help address the issue of anti-competition in the industry.

Representative of Etisalat, Mr. Damian Udeh explained that the process would help NCC to manage the wholesale and retail markets in the industry.

Other telecoms operators like Globacom and MTN gave their support for healthy competition in the Nigerian telecoms market.

Emakpore promised that the commission would collate all views through KPMG, and come out with a regulatory statement on anti-competition before the end of the year.

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