NCC reverses self, announces suspension of new licenses to Mobile Network Operators, and two others

In line with its powers under the Nigerian Communications Act (NCA) 2003 to grant and renew licences, promote fair competition and develop the Communications Industry, the Nigerian Communications Commission (the Commission) hereby informs all stakeholders of a temporary suspension on issuance of new licences in the following categories including Interconnect Exchange Licence, Mobile Virtual Network Operator Licence and Value Added Service Aggregator Licence.

An MVNO is a telecommunications operator whose services and products are provided on the back of the capacity of a fully licensed Mobile Telecommunications Service provider or Mobile Network Operator (MNO). 

Paragraph 4.1 of the Framework describes MVNO in this manner: “the MVNO reaches a “Wholesale Agreement” or “Revenue Sharing Agreement” with the telecommunications company (Telco) and delivers its services after bulk purchasing resources from the Telco. The defining difference between an MVNO and an MNO is the simple fact that an MVNO has no ownership whatsoever of spectrum elements, irrespective of its operational model.”

In essence, MVNOs do not own any spectrum frequency but they provide several telecommunications services by entering into a contract with an MNO, who already has a radio frequency spectrum.

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

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