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NCC: Driving Telecoms Advancements in Nigeria with Giant Strides



NCC: Driving Telecoms Advancements in Nigeria with Giant Strides
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With an estimated market size of USD 9.09 billion (2024) and cheering projection to hit USD 11.43 billion in 2029, the Nigerian telecommunications sector, a dynamic landscape driven by innovation and increasing connectivity, stands out as a high-performing industry within the country.

The Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) as its regulatory driver, under the leadership of Dr Aminu Maida, the Executive Vice-Chairman, and supervision of the Hon. Minister of Communications, Innovations and Digital Economy, Dr Bosun Tijani, plays pivotal roles.

This manifests both in the management of the sector which contributed at least 16.66% to Nigeria’s real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Q4 2023, and over 1.07 million jobs from 61, 000 companies, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), as well as the general promotion of technological leaps in Nigeria.

Since its establishment in 1992 under the Federal Military Government of Ibrahim Babangida, especially with the boom of GSM operations in early 2000s, the Commission has consistently demonstrated capacity to sustain an enabling environment for operators in the industry as well as ensure the provision of qualitative and efficient telecoms services across the country.

The industry is, however, not without its share of challenges. The perennial issues around ‘right of way’, multiple taxation, interconnectivity, disputes among players, legislative compliances, network coverage and quality drops occasioned by infrastructure deficit and damage, and other sundry service complaints from customers, persist.

The deft and clinical management of these issues which could limit the vibrant industry from actualising its full potentials has however made the NCC outstanding.

Dr Maida highlighted his direction for the agency last October: “Considering the fact that many people are going more digital and virtual in everything they do, the telecom infrastructure is now under much stress.

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“President Tinubu’s vision emphasises the need to build more robust broadband connectivity that will not only facilitate seamless digital transactions but also serve as the bedrock for e-governance and other socio-economic initiatives.

“As such, we would align with this aspiration to increase broadband penetration to 70 per cent and to cover 90 per cent of the population by 2025. Therefore, we need to build a reliable telecom industry with impressive quality of service (QoS) indicators with quality of experience (QoE) as our watchword and ultimate goal.


This also requires us to address a number of issues such as the Right of Way (RoW) challenge, ensuring security of our telecom infrastructure, among others. Efforts must be made to significantly improve service delivery by ensuring the NCC is performance-driven.”

And true to that, year after year, the agency continues to justify its creation and sustain public confidence and credibility with its firm posture, assertiveness, stakeholders engagements, apt and people centric policies, swift actions and necessary guidance, ensuring the industry’s continuous boom.

Through its regulatory oversight, strategic initiatives, and collaborations, the NCC has contributed significantly towards enhanced telecoms, improved service efficiency, economic benefits, and overall technological growth in the nation.

Firstly, the NCC has maintained a robust regulatory framework that assures fair competition, consumer protection, and quality service delivery in the industry.

Consistent with Section 70 of the Nigerian Communications Act 2003 (NCA 2003), the commission under successive leadership has smoothly managed authorisations, permits, licences, operations and activities of telecom operators, promoting healthy market competition and safeguarding the interests of consumers. This has fostered an environment conducive to growth, innovation, and investment in the telecom sector.

Similarly, by engaging stakeholders and players in meaningful dialogues including through its just concluded two-day public inquiry into three critical regulatory instruments – mobile virtual network operator, interconnect exchange, and value-added service aggregator, the NCC demonstrates deep understanding of the importance of collaboration and stakeholders engagement.

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The commission actively engages with industry stakeholders, including operators, consumer advocacy groups, other government agencies, and international organisations. Through these collaborations, the agency fosters knowledge sharing, promotes best practices, and seeks input from diverse perspectives to inform regulatory decisions and policy formulation.

Likewise, it prioritises consumer protection by driving initiatives targeted at ensuring that telecom service providers deliver quality services and adhere to acceptable service standards. Among these initiatives are the harmonised shortcodes, which provide uniform codes for telecom consumers to access various consumer services across all networks.

These shortcodes cover tasks like airtime loading, checking airtime balance, calling customer care centres and checking data plan balance. Others include Village Square Discussions (VSD); NCC Toll-Free Number, 622, which can be used to register complaints about telecom service-related issues; 112 Emergency Number for seeking assistance during emergencies; and the Do-Not-Disturb (DND) 2442 short code for blocking unsolicited messages.

The commission has established guidelines and regulations to safeguard consumers’ rights, such as fair billing practices, network quality, and data protection. Through effective monitoring and enforcement mechanisms, the NCC addresses consumer complaints, promotes transparency, and fosters a culture of customer-centricity in the telecom industry.

Moreover, in recognition of the importance of broadband connectivity for socio-economic development, the NCC has taken proactive measures to promote broadband penetration across Nigeria.


It has implemented various initiatives, such as the National Broadband Plan and Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) to expand broadband infrastructure, reduce the cost of internet access, and increase internet adoption in underserved areas. These efforts have contributed to improved connectivity, digital inclusion, and the empowerment of individuals and businesses.

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Also, the agency has efficiently allocated and managed frequency spectrum for wireless communication services. By optimizing the use of available spectrum resources, the NCC ensures that telecom operators can provide high-quality and reliable services to consumers.

The commission’s spectrum management strategies have facilitated the growth of mobile broadband, enabling Nigerians to access faster internet connections and bridging the digital divide.

In effect, the NCC has engineered a thriving telecom ecosystem in Nigeria today by actively encouraging innovation and investment through policies and initiatives.

The commission provides a supportive environment for telecom operators and technology startups to thrive, fostering the development of innovative services and solutions. By promoting investment in infrastructure deployment, the NCC stimulates economic growth, creates job opportunities, and attracts foreign direct investment in the telecoms sector.

By facilitating the deployment of advanced technologies such as 5G, Internet of Things (IoT), and Artificial Intelligence (AI), the commission also paves the way for innovative services and solutions, such as mobile money, e-commerce platforms, and digital payment systems, which have transformed various sectors of the economy, improved efficiency, and enhanced productivity.

Consequently, the commission’s regulatory excellence and robust contributions to the telecoms sector have gained many awards and international recognition, and positioned Nigeria as a leader in the African telecommunications landscape.

The commission’s framework, policies, and initiatives have served as a benchmark for other countries in the region. The NCC has actively participated in regional and international forums, sharing its experiences and contributing to the development of global telecoms standards and practices.

Overall, these efforts and functions of the agency cumulatively drive the industry’s significant contributions to the nation, including foreign investments, economy and GDP, job opportunities, digital inclusion, technological innovation and overall development.

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