The Nigerian Communications Commission, (NCC) has released Guidelines which prescribes a regulatory framework for the implementation of National Roaming services in Nigeria.
The Guidelines which is uploaded on the Commission’s website, apply only to holders of licences validly issued by the Commission. The condition in the document makes the holder eligible to enter into a National Roaming service agreement.
According to NCC, the National Roaming services shall be provided within the geographical boundaries of Nigeria. “These Guidelines are to be read in conjunction with the Act, the Collocation Guidelines, Interconnection Regulations, Quality of Service Regulations, Competition Practices Regulations, other subsidiary legislations that may be issued by the Commission from time to time, and relevant Licence Conditions,” it stated.
According to the legal provision as stated in Part 11 of the Guidelines, “duly authorised Service Providers shall request and negotiate National Roaming Agreements with each other on bi-lateral and non-discriminatory terms.
“A Roaming Seeker requesting for National Roaming services shall forward a duly completed Roaming Request Form A contained under Schedule1of these Guidelines to the Roaming Provider.
“A Roaming Provider shall notify the Roaming Seeker of its approval or rejection of the Roaming Request in line with the procedure stated under Sub-paragraph (5) and (6) below. Where the Roaming Seeker receives no response from the Roaming Provider within 15 days of its request, the Roaming Seeker shall immediately notify the Commission in writing, and the Commission shall take necessary steps to ensure the Roaming Provider responds to the Roaming Request.’’
On considerations for National Roaming Agreements, the document stated that, “The charges, terms and conditions for National Roaming services shall be through bilateral negotiations and in line with the provisions of these Guidelines.
“National Roaming Agreements shall take into consideration legal aspects of authentication, authorisation and billing of the Visiting or Roaming Subscriber so as not to compromise minimal safety standards such as location update procedures, financial security or warranty procedures in line with GSMA reference documents on roaming services as applicable to National Roaming.
‘‘The Guidelines states that national roaming services shall not exceed three years from date of execution of the National Roaming Agreement. “The Commission reserves the right to permit parties to renew the National Roaming Agreement for another three years. Any further extension must be subject to the approval of the Commission.”
On termination of agreement, the guidelines states that “a party may request in writing to the Commission for approval to terminate a National Roaming Agreement with the other party on any of the following grounds: (a) Bankruptcy (b) Revocation of licence or failure to renew expired licence(c) Consistent breach of commercial roaming obligations.
“After considering the request for termination, the Commission reserves the right to: (a) Request parties to provide additional information which would assist it in making a decision;(b) Request the defaulting party, where possible, to take remedial steps to avoid termination; or (c) Convey its decision within 15 days, either declining the application or granting approval for the applicant to suspend the service,” etc, it stated.
According to the NCC guidelines, “the format for billing and Call Data Record (CDR) verification shall be configured, tested and signed off on or before the commencement of Roaming. In this regard, 3GPP format is recommended.
“The Home Network shall, as much as possible, support existing models for charging such as prepaid/postpaid, on-net/off-net, MO/MT, per volume/time for data, in addition to pre-agreed terms with Roaming partner and verified tests,” it added. The rest of the document can be downloaded from the NCC website.’’