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NCC, Licensees Seek Way Out Of Industry Challenges



The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and licenced telecommunication companies yesterday in Lagos held talks on way out of the current challenges facing the telecommunications industry to ensure robust telecommunications service provision.

Executive commissioner, stakeholder management, NCC, Sunday Dare, speaking at the annual stakeholders’ forum said it would touch on the roles expected of licensees in meeting the expected levels of quality of service, contributions towards achieving National Broadband Plan targets, and enlightening licensees on various regulatory obligations deriving from their licenses. He said as a proactive and responsive regulator, NCC has taken steps to ensure that the industry continually adapts to the evolution in the telecommunications sector. It has, to this end, licensed InfraCos to roll out shared access broadband infrastructure across the country on an output based incentive system, with a view to speeding up broadband penetration.

He also disclosed that NCC has recently concluded the licensing of Value Added Services (VAS) Aggregators in a bid to improve the service delivery framework and improve consumer satisfaction on value-added services.

The framework would therefore ensure that telecom subscribers truly get added value when they sign up for such services, and that all stakeholders along the value chain are treated equitably so that the industry can grow.

Executive commissioner, Stakeholder Management, NCC, Sunday Dare, who disclosed this yesterday at the annual stakeholders’ forum with licensees held in Lagos, said the forum has become important as an avenue to identify challenges in the industry and how they affect the way the Commission’s licensees do business.

“Our expectation is that licensees will compliment interventions like these from the Commission by instituting best practices in the running of their activities. There are existing Service Level Agreements (SLA) and codes of conduct that, when appropriately implemented, would guarantee conducive operating environment that will significantly reduce the need for regulatory intervention.

“In this regard, I wish to particularly mention the code of corporate governance for the  telecoms industry – we are concerned that much of the problems bedeviling the industry can, arguably, be traced to lax governance standards and we expect all licensees (including those on whom the code is not yet mandatory) to review their governance practices to better conform with the code,” Danbatta added.

In her opening remarks, director, Licencing and Authorisation, NCC, Funlola Akiode, disclosed that the forum was aimed at fostering harmonious relationship with licensees, identifying their challenges, providing feedbacks on licensees’ fulfilment of their licence obligations and to re-emphasis the role of licensees in ensuring good quality of service and partnership towards the achievement of the broadband penetration targets.

She however said NCC was concerned about the telecom/internet quality of service offered to subscribers.

“We strongly believe that the licensees here today have a huge role to play in addressing the QoS challenges. We cannot over-emphasize the importance of the collocation and infrastructure sharing service providers in providing the access networks by ensuring pervasive installation of masts and towers for adequate coverage across the country.

“The Metropolitan Fiber Optic Cable Operation and the National Long Distance Operators also play a major role in the deployment of fibre optic cable required for robust transmission of telecommunications traffic despite the identified changes with obtaining Right of Way (RoW) approvals/permits from relevant government agencies,” she said.

Akiode further stated that the Commission therefore recognises the importance of all the various service providers hence the need to constantly engage you with a view to identifying challenges and collectively proffering solutions to them.