Communications and digital economy minister Isa Pantami has ordered the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to review the country’s telecom operators’ licences.
NCC’s spokesman Ikechukwu Adinde disclosed in a statement on Tuesday that the move demonstrated its responsiveness to global trends in the information and communications technology ecosystem.
He added that the review of the licensing standards is necessitated by a wide range of technological advances and the convergence of technologies and services being felt in Nigeria, citing that the current licensing structure is almost 20 years old and the commission sees a need for a review to reflect modern licensing trends and global standards.
According to him, the executive vice-chairman Umar Danbatta had inaugurated a standing committee to review operators’ licences in the telecom industry.
“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,” Dr Adinde said.
He noted that the committee would be rolled out in different phases to ensure efficient service delivery and enable the NCC to execute a process that would lead to the review of the terms and conditions of the various license categories.
He disclosed that the processes include licensing fees, 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.
Meanwhile, the Committee has a seven-point deliverable agenda set by the NCC which includes a comprehensive review of existing licenses; report and recommendations on consultative fora; a report on recommended new license undertakings; a report on recommended amendment to license fees and durations; a report on benchmarking of licenses with similar jurisdictions, and a report on the impact of certain licenses on other license holders.
Mr Pantami had earlier implemented the NIM-SIM link protocol with several deadlines cancelled. The current deadline for a telephone user in the country is now June 30.
The NCC has at least 8,000 licensees listed on its website. According to the commission, an “international cable infrastructure and landing station” licence costs $210,000 for 20 years.