The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said that the Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO) licence framework has not yet been concluded, contrary to a recent media report.
The Commission said through a statement on Friday, signed by its Director, Public Affairs, Dr Ikechukwu Adinde, that such report is untrue, speculative and unfounded and therefore, should be disregarded in its entirety by members of the public.
Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO) are telecommunications product and service operators that ride on top of the infrastructure capacity of fully-licensed mobile telecommunication service providers or mobile network operators (MNOs).
An MVNO is a company that provides mobile communication services, sells subscriptions and bills to customers under its own brand but does not have its own spectrum licence.
Furthermore, an MVNO establishes an agreement with the hosting MNO from whom it buys a wholesale network capacity to obtain essentially the same possibilities to offer mobile services to end-users as an MNO.
But the NCC, in debunking the media report stated: “The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) would like to draw the attention of the public to a report in an online publication purporting that the Commission had concluded work on the licensing framework that will open Nigerian telecoms market for the launch of Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO).
“The Commission, however, categorically states that such report is untrue, speculative and unfounded and should be disregarded in its entirety by the members of the public.
“The MVNO licence framework, an important precursor to the licensing of this category of telecoms players, is not yet concluded, contrary to the statement in the said media report.”
The NCC said that for the avoidance of doubt, on December 10, 2020, it published on its official website, the first draft document on “Licence Framework for the Establishment of Mobile Virtual Network Operators in Nigeria.”
It noted that the publication followed an industry stakeholders’ workshop on MVNO for the purpose of collectively examining the potential benefits, technical feasibility, market demand and appropriate model for MVNO adoption in Nigeria.
“In line with its regulatory procedures in policy formulation, the Commission, after uploading the document online requested for inputs, comments and submissions from industry stakeholders and other members of the public on the draft document, the collation of which are still ongoing.
“The comments obtained will be considered for possible inclusion in the framework for the formulation of a sustainable and efficient MVNO licensing framework, as well as a highly conducive regulatory regime that facilitates growth and development in the telecoms space, through competitive and differentiated services offered by these virtual operators,” the Commission said in the statement.
It is in view of this that the Commission has strongly advised Nigerians and all telecom consumers to disregard any report purporting that Nigeria is now open to this new segment of industry licences, as the licensing framework has not been concluded.
According to the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof, Umar Danbatta, “The ongoing development of the MVNO licensing framework is not yet concluded much less opening up the telecoms sector for the launch of MVNOs.”
Danbatta said the Commission believes that the MVNOs have great prospects, especially considering the government’s efforts to extend telecom services to more rural, under-served and unserved communities across the country.
The EVC, however, stated that no action will be taken until the conclusion of the MVNO framework, consideration of inputs from all relevant stakeholders and the approval by the board of the Commission.