NCC licenses virtual cellular network operators

The Nigeria Communications Commission has announced its plans to start issuing licenses to mobile virtual network operators in the country.

The director of the NCC’s Licensing and Authorization Department, Mr. Mohammed Babajika, announced that the commission has finalized the framework for mobile virtual network operators and is currently dealing with the licensing of MVNOs.

He said so during the first Talk-To-The Regulator forum for 2023, a two-day event in Yenagoa, Bayelsa state.

According to him, licensing MVNOs would improve the country’s telecoms performance, enable the expansion and availability of quality cellular coverage, and close the gap between the unserved and underserved population in Nigeria.

Babajika explained that the Commission is currently reviewing its license categories in line with global trends, recognizing that technological advances in the industry such as artificial intelligence, big data, network as a service and the Internet of Things are redefining service delivery.

“While the Commission is fully committed to fulfilling its mandate, it can only do so with the cooperation and support of licensees. The Commission therefore recognizes the importance of different service providers and strives to constantly work with these service providers to protect the health and growth of the telecoms industry,” he said.

Earlier, NCC Vice-Chair Prof. Umar Danbatta, represented by NCC Pre-Licensing Head Usman Mamman, said in his remarks that the Commission is currently reviewing the scope and structure of its existing licenses to make them more robust and to address some of the emerging industry trends identified.

He explained that NCC has taken measures to improve the regulations to meet the rapid and continuous development and to keep up with the developments in the industry.

Among other things, he said, the Commission’s interventions included facilitating the roll-out of the deployment of 5G services and introducing a mobile virtual network operator license to bridge the gap between unserved and underserved areas.

“In line with the Nigeria National Broadband Plan (NNBP 2020 – 2025), the NCC is providing industry leadership to enable the achievement of 90% broadband penetration by 2025 and well over 50% by the end of 2023.”

Currently, over 150 million Nigerians have internet access while over eighty (80) million have high speed internet access,” he added.

The Talk-To-The Regulator forum is a shared platform for non-discriminatory face-to-face interaction between licensees and the regulator on a variety of industry issues relevant to licensees and of national interest.