License approvals have been given to 31 Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) in the Nigeria telecom space by the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) as at today. Based on the sales of the licenses, the telecom regulator has been able to generate ₦7.285 billion into the federal coffers.
According to information on the NCC website, the licenses were categorized into five tiers to determine the level of service offerings. Tier 1 (Virtual Operator) has one licensee; Tier 2 (Simple Facilities Operator), 9 licensees; Tier 3 (Core Facilities Operator), 7 licensee; Tier 4 (Virtual Aggregator/ Enabler), 4 licensees; and Tier 5 (the Unified Virtual Operator) has 10 licensees.
The Licenses will be valid for a period of Ten (10) years with an option to renew the license.
The NCC explains that “a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) is a telecommunications product and service operator that rides on top of the capacity of a fully Licensed Telecommunications Service provider or Mobile Network Operator (MNO). The MVNO reaches a “Wholesale Agreement” or “Revenue Sharing Agreement” with the Telecommunications Company (Telco) through negotiations and delivers its services after bulk purchasing resources from the Telco. The defining difference between an MVNO and an MNO is the simple fact that an MVNO has no ownership whatsoever of spectrum elements, irrespective of its operational model.”
According to the NCC, some of the objectives of licensing Virtual Network Operators include giving the service providers of virtual mobile communications service an opportunity to participate in the telecommunications provisioning market of Nigeria, with an emphasis on improving the telecommunication output of the country. It will also ensure that all core stakeholders are adequately catered for and protected within a Virtual Network Operator-enabled environment.
The licenses, which range from ₦35 million to ₦500 million, will further allow for the Virtual Network Service to contribute to the availability and expansion of quality mobile coverage through redundant capacity utilization, active infrastructure sharing, national roaming, and other telecommunication elements that enable it.
The licensees Scope will range from providing adequate SIM card sales and distribution channels; Development of an efficient tariff structure, ensuring adequate and accurate billing systems, to facility management and Core Network functions and Spectrum access.
Tier 5 licensees include Systegra Technologies Limited; Choffan Communications Limited; Mab Consultant and Associates Ltd; H & Y Business Global Limited and Taima Technologies Ltd.
Others are Global Communications Extension Services Ltd; U S K(S) Ventures International Ltd; Paribas Communications Limited; Fourth Industrial Skills Consult Limited and Mobilise Communication Limited.