NCC to review numbering plan, says EVC

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Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has started the process of reviewing existing Numbering Plan (NP) in the telecoms sector, according to Prof Umar Dambatta, executive vice chairman/CEO, NCC.

Dambatta, said it is in the spirit of ensuring that the telecoms ecosystem is regulated in tandem with the demand of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) era.

He spoke at the 2019 Information Communication Technology and Telecommunication (ICTEL) Exhibition organised by the Lagos Chmaber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI)  at Landmark Event Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos.

The event had: Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) – The Nigerian Story as theme.

Dambatta said based on recent developments in the global telecommunications industry, such as man-to-machine (M2M) communications,  Internet of Things (loT), Over the Top (OTT) and others,  and other services made possible by fourth-generation, the futuristic 5G/6G technologies, the NCC has considered it important for the numbering plan in the country to be reviewed.

He said: “The development of the new NNP therefore, will help to provide numbers that will satisfy the needs of the projected 500 million Nigerians to be connected and about 1 billion globally-interconnected machines and devices by 2050.”

Danbatta said the measure would also “promote efficiency in the allocation of  this scarce national resource; promote competition among service providers; eliminate the risk of running short of all categories of numbers; facilitate the introduction and development of new and above all, encourage growth of the innovative services and telecommunications sector,” as well as increase job creation and contribute to National Gross Domestic Product (GDP), among others.

The NCC chief pointed out that NP is very key to telecoms services for proper identification of devices and services, saying that the regulator is reviewing the existing National Numbering Plan (NNP) with the objective of developing a new NNP that is robust, futuristic and adaptable to address the numbering needs of the country taking into account the country’s growing population.

He said  new services have emerged in the country’s  digital space, stating that there is need to integrate such services into the telecoms environment.

“Also, people are now interested in having all their communication services conveyed by a single device. Services such as voice, data, short messaging services (SMS), television programmes, banking services, etc.are now being received via a handheld mobile device.”

According to him, this convergence of services requires upgrade and adopting the NP to accommodate the new habits and culture.   Dambatta said the Commission is upgrading, expanding and re-designing the numbering system in order to ensure the country derives the maximum benefit from this scarce resource.

He said the country is at the forefront of adopting latest technologies engendered by effective regulation of the industry by the NCC.

“It feels good to state that our Nigerian story in the 4IR is an exciting one but more needs to be done in order for us to properly harness all these new technologies to the advantage of our country.

All we need at this stage as a nation, is to join hands together to support the building of more robust telecom infrastructure that will further helP to deepen the nation’s broadband penetration beyond its current figare of 33 per cent towards supporting the explosion of digital activities to be witnessed as we immerse ourselves into the realities of the 4IR.

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