Prof Umar Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman, Nigeria Communications Commission NCC, said the commission , in keeping with its mandate, created opportunities to interact with its licensees on industry issues and new trends via stakeholder fora, with a view to gathering relevant information that would further advance the development of the industry, while improving regulations and service delivery to telecom consumers.
Prof Danbatta disclosed this in a Keynote address delivered at the NCC ‘Talk-To-The Regulator’Forum for the Year, 2023, holding in the South-South, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
EVC stated that the telecom industry has witnessed milestones in more ways than one, including the rapid growth in technology, which is redefining service delivery, and creating wide and high expectations from all stakeholders.He therefore appealed to participants to feel free to ask questions, provide feedback and proffer possible solutions that would address the concerns that might be raised during the interactive sessions.
He said “To keep up to date with developments in the industry, the Commission has equally taken measures to improve regulations to accommodate the rapid and continuous development. Some of the interventions and responses of the Commission includes but are not limited to:
• Facilitating the Roll-Out of 5G Service provision.
• Introduction of Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) Licence to bridge the gap between unserved and underserved areas.
• The Commission is currently reviewing the scope and structure of its existing licenses to make them more robust and to accommodate some of the identified new industry trends.
• In line with the Nigeria National Broadband Plan (NNBP 2020 – 2025), the NCC is providing industry leadership to facilitate the achievement of 90% Broadband penetration by year 2025, and well above 50% at the end of 2023. Currently, over a One Hundred and Fifty (I50) million Nigerians have access to internet, while over eighty (80) million can access high speed internet”.
The TTTR Forum in Yenagoa which was originally scheduled to hold in 2022 but was postponed due to the dreadful flood disaster that hit Bayelsa and some other states.
The Commission, therefore, seized the opportunity of the forum to commiserate with the people of Bayelsa State and the entire nation on the worst flood disaster recorded in the history of the nation.
“We pray that such natural disaster shall not plaque our dear nation again, and equally believe that the state has made adequate preparations for any future occurrences” NCC Boss added.
The ‘Talk-To-The Regulator`Forum is a common platform for non-discriminatory interaction on a one-on-one basis, between the Licensees and the Regulator on several industry issues, pertinent to the Licensees and of national interest.
In his welcome address,Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management, Mr.Adeleke Adewolu said ‘The Talk to the Regulator Forum’ was in tandem with the Commission’s strategic objective to facilitate strategic collaboration and partnership with critical stakeholders in the industry.
He said the essence of the forum was to create awareness about the activities of the Commission as a Regulator and also obtain feedback from critical stakeholders on how the industry affected their daily lives as well as the role of the Regulator in enhancing same.
“It also serves as an educational platform where misconceptions about the Commission and its processes are explained.
“The Communications Sector has proven to be pivotal to the growth and development of the national economy. The sector has continually ensured that the digital economy agenda of the Federal Government is established on solid foundations. It has also proven to be the catalyst for entrenching the activities of both the public and private sector in the digital space, seamlessly.
“The Communications Sector is indeed the pace-setter sector as far as the expansion of the frontiers for national development is concerned. This was further underscored by the recent deployment of the Fifth Generation Technology (5G) services in the Country which we believe will ensure that Nigeria maximises the benefit of the 4th Industrial Revolution whilst being sufficiently prepared for any attendant risk that may occur.
“A market study has shown that the deployment of 5G Technology Services will result in $13.2 trillion in global economic value by 2035, generating 22.3 million jobs in the 5G global value chain alone. Thus, the Commission has played an effective role in placing the nation at a vantage position in order to reap these benefits.
“The exponential growth of the telecommunications sector is largely attributable to effective policies, legal and regulatory framework implemented by the Federal Government the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
“This Forum is thus an opportunity for Critical Stakeholders to share their respective challenges, experiences and also suggest viable solutions to the Regulator. Constant engagement with the Regulator is the path towards regulatory efficiency as it preserves the integrity of the regulatory instruments issued by the Regulator whilst securing the buy-in of all Stakeholders.
The Commission recently issued a regulatory framework for the licensing of Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) in Nigeria as well as the requisite licence for such services and this has witnessed significant interest from prospective investors. New Market Entrants in this category can leverage on the growth and infrastructure in the
telecommunications industry and it is particularly attractive to investors due to its low cost of entry in terms of capital expenditure.
“This forum is therefore an opportunity for Stakeholders to seek clarifications from the Regulator especially as it relates to understanding regulatory obligations, obligations to the consumer and their collective responsibility to the sustainability of the industry.
“I encourage you to garner as much as you can from this forum. I also enjoin you to freely make contributions and raise issues that would assist the Commission in coming up with adequate regulatory measures that would enhance development in the communications sector of the economy. We assure you that every view expressed would be respected and duly considered”Adewolu added.