The need to accommodate a wide range of technological advances, the convergence of technologies and services which have characterized the global telecoms space over the years, informed the decision to review telecom licenses, Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta has said.
Danbatta, who stated this while inaugurating an in-house Standing Committee to carry out the task of reviewing the license, also said the step is being taken in demonstration of its responsiveness to global trends and the dynamics in the Information and Communications Technology ecosystem.
“There is a need for the review of the existing license structure going by the wide range of technological advances, the convergence of technologies and services which have characterized the global telecoms space over the years, and which impact is increasingly being experienced in Nigeria,” he explained.
According to him, the current license structure is almost 20 years old, hence the need for an urgent review of the existing license pattern to reflect new licensing trends in line with international standards while providing opportunities for improved revenue for the government.
He noted that while it is evidently clear that this Standing Committee, drawn up from competent hands in various departments of the Commission, is perfectly suited and capable of addressing the enormous task of reviewing the existing license structure of telecom licensees in Nigeria, the former University lecturer said the work of the Standing Committee will be carried out in phases.
According to him, the effective delivery of the Committee’s task will help the Commission to institute a process, which will culminate in the review of the terms and conditions of the various license categories. These, he said, will include licensing fees, as well as identification of the limitations of the various license categories, with a view to clearly determining licenses that should be phased out or amended.
Specifically, Danbatta outlined Management’s seven-point deliverables from the Committee to include a comprehensive review/report on existing licenses; a report and recommendations on consultative fora; and a report on recommended new license undertakings.
Others include a report on recommended amendment to license fees and durations; a report on benchmarking of license with similar jurisdictions, a report on the impact of certain licenses on other license holders. The Committee is also expected to recommend solutions as well as the develop updated regulatory framework for new and amended licenses as the case may be; and a final report on the project with all recommendations.