NCC begins review of telecoms license structure — spokesman

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has initiated a process for the review of existing licensing structure in the Nigerian telecommunications industry, according to Dr Ikechukwu Adinde, the commission’s public affairs director.

The commission said that the move was in demonstration of its responsiveness to global trends and the new dynamics in the Information and Communications Technology ecosystem.

In a statement on Tuesday, in Abuja, Adinde said that the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) Prof. Umar Danbatta had already inaugurated an in-house Standing Committee to carry out the task towards achieving the set goals.

Danbatta, while inaugurating the committee, stated the need for the review as being informed by the wide range of technological advances and the convergence of technologies and services, which have characterized the global telecoms space over the years and whose impact was increasingly being felt in Nigeria.

The current licensing structure is almost 20 years old, he noted, hence the need for an urgent review to reflect new licensing 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,” he added.

Danbatta noted that the work of the committee would be carried out in phases, to ensure effective delivery of its task and enable the commission to institute a process that would lead to the review of the terms and conditions of the various license categories.

These, the EVC 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.

He outlined seven-point deliverables expected of the committee to include, a comprehensive review on existing licenses; 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 licenses with similar jurisdictions, a report on the impact of certain licenses on other license holders.

These would be in addition to recommended solutions, as well as an updated regulatory framework for new and amended licenses as the case may be; and a final report on the project with all relevant recommendations.

Mr Mohammad Babajika, the Director, Licensing and Authorisation, NCC and Chairman of the Committee, , assured the management of the committee’s resolve to deliver on the terms of their assignment.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) learnt that a new draft framework for new and amended licenses was expected at the end of the committee’s assignment and after due consultations with industry stakeholders. (NAN)