MVNO Licence Framework Yet to be Concluded, Says NCC

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Emma Okonji
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said the licensing of Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO), was yet to be concluded.

NCC gave the clarification in a statement, while reacting to a report in an online publication purporting that the Commission had concluded work on the licensing framework that would open Nigerian telecoms market for the launch of Mobile Virtual Network.

According to the statement, which was signed by the Director, Public Affairs and NCC, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, the Commission, however, stated that the report was untrue, speculative and unfounded and should be disregarded in its entirety by the members of the public.

The MVNO licence framework, an important precursor to the licensing of this category of telecoms players, is not yet concluded, contrary to the report, the statement said.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the Commission, on December 10, 2020, published on its official website, the first draft document on “Licence Framework for the Establishment of Mobile Virtual Network Operators in Nigeria.”

The publication followed an industry stakeholders’ workshop on MVNO for the purpose of collectively examining the potential benefits, technical feasibility, market demand and appropriate model for MVNO adoption in Nigeria.

“In line with its regulatory procedures in policy formulation, the Commission, after uploading the document online requested for inputs, comments and submissions from industry stakeholders and other members of the public on the draft document, the collation of which are still ongoing.

“The comments obtained will be considered for possible inclusion in the framework for the formulation a sustainable and efficient MVNO licensing framework, as well as a highly conducive regulatory regime that facilitates growth and development in the telecoms space, through competitive and differentiated services offered by these virtual operators.

“In view of this, the Commission strongly advises Nigerian citizens and all telecom consumers to disregard any report purporting that Nigeria is now open to this new segment of industry licences, as the licensing framework has not been concluded,” the statement further said.

According to the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof, Umar Danbatta, the “The ongoing development of the MVNO licensing framework is not yet concluded much less opening up the telecoms sector for the launch of MVNOs.”

Danbatta said the Commission believed that the MVNOs have great prospects, especially considering the government’s efforts to extend telecom services to more rural, under-served and unserved communities across the country.
He however stated that no action will be taken until the conclusion of the MVNO framework, consideration of inputs from all relevant stakeholders and the approval by the board of the Commission.