Somalia: First ICT Licensing Regime Introduced

National Communications Authority (NCA) of Somalia has today announced the introduction of a unified licensing framework (ULF) in Somalia after consultation with the stakeholders.

The new licensing framework, guided by the National Communications Law of 2017, offers more flexible, simplified and technology and service neutral form of licensing. Consequently, operators and service providers will be licensed under a market structure consisting of the following broad market segments namely Communications Infrastructure Provider (CIP), Application Service Provider (ASP) and Communications Infrastructure and Services Provider (CISP).

As Somalia's first regulatory framework for the ICT sector, ULF is aimed at encouraging the growth of new services and applications; simplifying of licensing procedures to ease market entry and operations; and providing regulatory flexibility to address market and technological developments; and efficiently utilizing network resources, so that individual networks may be used to provide a broad range of ICT services.

Abdi Sheik Ahmed, NCA General Manager, noted that the regulator's priority was to come up with a regime that not only takes local context into account, but also is future-ready. "Current ICT service providers have until April 1st, 2020 to apply for the relevant licenses, otherwise they will be treated as new entrants," said Mr. Ahmed.

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Abdirahman Yusuf, Director General of Ministry of Information, welcomed NCA's initiative in regulating the country's information and communication sector. He said his ministry would first license broadcasting companies and then refer them to NCA for spectrum assignment, subject to availability.

In his closing remarks, State Minister for Post, Telecom and Technology, Hon. Abdullahi Bile Noor, lauded NCA for introducing a comprehensive licensing framework despite its short history.

The launching ceremony was attended by representatives from telecommunications companies, ISPs, banks, domain registrars, associations of media owners and professionals, and representatives from relevant government ministries.

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