NCC begins review of Telecoms License Structure

The main body in charge of licensing and regulation of telecoms in Nigeria, the Nigerian Communications Commission NCC has demonstrated its responsiveness to global trends and dynamics in the Information and Communications Technology ecosystem.

The Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta recently inaugurated an in-house Standing Committee drawn from the different department from the commission, was charged with the task of reviewing all existing licensing structures in the Nigerian telecommunications industry.

At the inauguration, Danbatta said the need for the review of the existing license structure was based on the wide range of technological advances, the convergence of technologies and services which have characterized the global telecoms space over the years, and which impact is increasingly being experienced in Nigeria.

He went further to state that, the current license structure is almost 20 years old, hence the need for an urgent review of the existing license pattern to reflect new licensing trends in line with international standards while providing opportunities for improved revenue for the government.

While noting that the work of the Standing Committee will be carried out in phases, Danbatta said effective delivery of the Committee’s task will help the Commission to institute a process, which will culminate in the review of the terms and conditions of the various license categories. These, he said, will include licensing fees, as well as identification of the limitations of the various license categories, with a view to determine licenses that should be phased out or amended.

The committee was charged with seven-point deliverables which include a comprehensive review/report on existing licenses; a report and recommendations on consultative fora; and a 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 to develop an 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 Authorization, NCC, and Chairman of the Committee, Mohammad Babajika, assured the Commission’s Management of the Committee’s resolve to deliver on the terms of their assignment. At the end of the Committee’s assignment, and following due consultations with industry stakeholders, the Commission envisages a new draft framework for new and amended licenses.

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