BREAKING: NCC stops issuance of new licences in 3 Key categories

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has announced a temporary suspension on issuing new licences in three key categories.

The categories are; Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) Licence, Interconnect Exchange Licence, and Value Added Service (VAS) Aggregator Licence.

Impacted Licence Categories:

1. Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) Licence

– MVNOs are companies that do not own a mobile spectrum licence but provide mobile services under their brand using the network of a licensed mobile operator. Currently, there are at least 25 MVNOs operating in Nigeria.

2. Interconnect Exchange Licence:

– This licence facilitates the interconnection of more than two independent entities, enabling the flow of electronic communications.

3. Value Added Service (VAS) Aggregator Licence:

– VAS aggregators provide non-core network telecommunication services beyond standard voice calls, including internet services, directory services, paging, voicemail, prepaid calling cards, call centre services, content services, and vehicle tracking.

The NCC stated that this suspension is in line with its authority under the Nigerian Communications Act 2003, which empowers it to grant and renew licences and promote fair competition. The commission aims to conduct a thorough review of market saturation, competition levels, and current market dynamics.

In a public notice posted on its X (formerly Twitter) handle on Friday, the NCC explained the reasons behind the moratorium. The notice, titled “Temporary Suspension Of The Issuance Of Communications Licences In Three Categories,” was signed by Reuben Muoka, Director of the Public Affairs Department:

“In line with its powers under the Nigerian Communications Act 2003 to grant and renew licenses, promote fair competition, and develop the Communications Industry, the Nigerian Communications Commission (The Commission) hereby informs all stakeholders of a temporary suspension on the issuance of new licences in the following categories: Interconnect Exchange Licence, Mobile Virtual Network Operator Licence, and Value Added Service Aggregator Licence.

This temporary suspension is necessary to enable the commission to conduct a thorough review of several key areas within these categories, including the current level of competition, market saturation, and current market dynamics.”

The NCC clarified that the suspension, effective from May 17, 2024, does not affect pending applications, which will still be considered based on merit.

“During the suspension period, new applications for the aforementioned licences will not be accepted. This is without prejudice to pending applications before the Commission, which will be considered on their merits.”

For inquiries or clarifications regarding this suspension, stakeholders are advised to contact the NCC via email at licensing@ncc.gov.ng.

News24 Nigeria reports that the NCC’s decision to impose a temporary moratorium on new licences aims to reassess the telecommunications market in Nigeria, ensuring a balanced and competitive environment.

This measure is expected to address issues of market saturation and competition, ultimately fostering a more sustainable telecommunications sector.

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