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NCC suspends issuance of virtual operators licence, two others

THE Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) has temporarily suspended new licence issuance to operators in three categories.

The categories affected include Mobile Virtual Network Operator Licence, Interconnect Exchange Licence and Value Added Service Aggregator Licence.

According to the NCC, the suspension is in line with its powers under the Nigerian Communications Act 2003 to grant, and renew licenses and promote fair competition.

However, it noted that the new directive doesn’t affect pending applications which would be considered based on merit.

Virtual Operators Licence allows a company that does not own a mobile spectrum licence to sell mobile services under its brand name using the network of a licensed mobile operator.

The Interconnect Exchange Licence enables the interconnection of more than two independent connecting entities to facilitate electronic communications transfer.

Value Added Service Aggregators include non‐core network telecommunication services which are beyond standard voice calls such as internet, directory service, paging service, voice mail and prepaid calling card service, call centre services, content services, and vehicle tracking.

Announcing the suspension in a public notice posted on its X handle on Friday, the Commission said the temporary suspension is to enable a thorough review of several key areas of market saturation, competition level and current market dynamics.

The notice was signed by the Director, Public Affairs Department, Nigerian Communications Commission, Reuben Muoka.

“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 Commissions) hereby informs all stakeholders of a temporary suspension on issuance of new licenses in the following categories, Interconnect Exchange License, Mobile Virtual Network Operator License and Value Added Service Aggregator License.

“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 statement read in part.

It added, “The public is invited to note that during the suspension period commencing on 17th of May, 2024, new applications for the aforementioned licenses will not be accepted. This is without prejudice to pending applications before the Commission which will be considered on its merits.

“Any enquiries of clarification in respect of this Suspension Notice should be forwarded to: [email protected].”

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