The telecommunication sector comprises companies that make communication possible on a global scale, whether it is through the phone or the Internet. These companies created the infrastructure that allows data to be sent anywhere in the world. In Nigeria, the principal legislation that regulates the communication sector is the Nigeria Communication Act (2003) while Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC) is the body responsible for the administration of the Act.
However, a prospective investor willing to do business in the communication sector in Nigeria must adhere to all existing regulations and requirements, as the sector is highly regulated. This will involve getting requisite licenses, permits, written authorizations, and assignments before such investing organization will be allowed to operate.
In accordance with Section 70 of the Nigerian Communications Act 2003 (NCA 2003), the Commission is empowered to make regulations relating to written authorizations, permits, assignments, and Licenses.
Meanwhile, the process to obtain NCC license must be commenced with the registration of a company in Nigeria.
Procedure To Obtain A Telecom License
To start with, a license is a legal document that grants a company the authority to engage in a telecom business or to provide a telecom Service. The grant of the license will, however, depend on the category of license an applicant is seeking. The categories of licenses issued by the NCC are broadly divided into two, which are:
Requirement And Procedure For Obtaining An Individual License
The guideline for how to obtain NCC License is well stated on the website for the commission. In accordance with the NCC’s guideline, the requirements for Individual License category include.
A completed application would be submitted in triplicate with all necessary documents attached and bound together. On submission, a nonrefundable administrative charge that is 5% of the relevant license fee would be paid. License offer is granted if all conditions and requirements are met.
For individual license, depending on the service and completeness of required information, the conclusion of the process takes between 4‐8 weeks.
Requirement And Procedure For Obtaining A Class License
The process and requirements involved in this category of License include;
A completed application should be submitted in triplicate with all necessary documents attached together. On submission, a nonrefundable administrative charge, which is 5% of the relevant license fee, must be paid. License offer is granted if all conditions or requirements are fulfilled.
According to the provision of the Nigerian Communication Act 2003, an applicant must receive a response with respect to license application within 90 days of the submission of the application. However for a Class License, once an application is complete, an offer letter will be issued immediately.
Value Added Service License (VAS)
A Value Added telecommunication services are non‐core Network telecommunication services which are beyond standard voice calls. These services include Internet, Directory service, paging service, voice mail and Prepaid Calling Card service, Call Center Services, Content Services, and Vehicle Tracking. The service provider does not own a network to provide the service and may ride on existing networks. As such, an investor willing to opt for the value added service would still be required to furnish additional requirement before the NCC VAS license can be issued.
Additional requirements for Value added service.
Additional requirements for VAS (Content Services Using Short Code) are as follows:
In conclusion, it would be advisable that one should involve and engage expert usually legal practitioners specialized in this field that understands the framework of this sector when applying for Licenses so as to be properly guided and also to ensure a hitch-free procedure in seeking for the license.
Written by Mubarak Abdullahi, an Associate at Resolution Law Firm, Nigeria