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NCC to license new telecom operators, guarantees subscribers more choices

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The Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) has said mobile subscribers in Nigeria will soon have more choices of telecommunications operators as it moves to license more companies to operate as Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs).

These new operators, when licensed, are to provide mobile services like MTN, Airtel, Globacom, and 9mobile, leveraging the existing infrastructure across the country.

This came as the telecoms regulator on Thursday published an advertorial calling on interested companies to apply for the license within 30 days. The Commission says mobile network operators are not eligible to apply for the new license.

According to the MVNO guidelines released by the NCC earlier this year, the cost of the license which comes in 5 different categories ranges from N30 million to N250 million.

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NCC in the advertorial published on its website said: “Pursuant to the NCA 2003, Licensing Regulation 2019, and other subsidiary Regulations, the Commission has created an enabling environment where various players provide diverse services based on licenses issued by the Commission.

“In its drive to create an enabling environment, the Commission hereby introduces Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) License that will generate employment and bridge the gap between the unserved and the Underserved in Society. It will also further engender competition and provide choices for telecommunication consumers.”

The Commission added that the MVNO license is a Five (5) Tier classification that has distinctive services to be offered by the players in different tiers which include Tier 1 as a Virtual Operator; Tier 2 as a Simple Facilities Operator; Tier 3 as a Core Facilities Operator; Tier 4 as a Virtual Aggregator/ Enabler; and Tier 5 as the Unified Virtual Operator.

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A Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) is a telecommunications product and service operator that rides on top of the infrastructure capacity of a fully-licensed mobile telecommunication service provider or mobile network operators (MNOs). This means that the operators will not need investments in their infrastructure but leverage existing facilities across the country to provide services.

The entrance of the MNVO is expected to provide competitive offerings in the telecoms market and lower the costs of calls and data for the subscribers.

Aside from lowering the cost of access to telecommunications services, NCC said the MVNOs would help to drive the government’s efforts to extend telecom services to more rural, under-served, and unserved communities across the country.

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