Nigeria: NCC Moves to Review Telecoms License Structure

17 June 2021

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has initiated the process for the review of existing licensing structure in the Nigerian telecommunications industry.

The move was a demonstration of NCC's responsiveness to global trends and the dynamics in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) ecosystem.

The Director, Public Affairs at NCC, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, in a statement, said the initiative was taken by the Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, when he inaugurated an in-house standing committee to carry out the task.

Danbatta, while inaugurating the Committee, said the need for the review of the existing license structure was informed by the wide range of technological advances, convergence of technologies and services which have characterised the global telecoms space over the years, and which impact is increasingly being experienced in Nigeria.

According to him, "the current license structure is almost 20 years old, hence the need for an urgent review of the existing license pattern to reflect new licencing trends in line with international standards while providing opportunities for improved revenue for government."

"Therefore, it is evidently clear that this standing committee, drawn up from competent hands in various departments of the Commission, is perfectly suited and capable of addressing the enormous task of reviewing the existing license structure of telecom licensees in Nigeria," Danbatta had said.

While noting that the work of the standing committee would be carried out in phases, Danbatta said effective delivery of the committee's task would help the Commission to institute a process, which would culminate in the review of the terms and conditions of the various license categories. These, he said, would include licensing fee, as well as identification of the limitations of the various license categories, with a view to clearly determining licenses that should be phased out or amended.

Danbatta outlined the Commission's seven-point deliverables from the committee to include a comprehensive review and report on existing licenses; report and recommendations on consultative fora; and report on recommended new license undertakings.

Others include a report on recommended amendment to license fees and durations; a report on benchmarking of license with similar jurisdictions, a report on the impact of certain licenses on other license holders. The committee is also expected to recommend solutions as well as develop updated regulatory framework for new and amended licenses as the case may be; and a final report on the project with all recommendations.

Also speaking during the inauguration of the committee, the Director, Licensing and Authorisation at NCC and Chairman of the committee, Mohammad Babajika, assured NCC of the committee's resolve to deliver on the terms of their assignment.

At the end of the committee's assignment, NCC will release a new draft framework for new and amended licenses, Adinde said.

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