The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has met with relevant stakeholders to discuss the draft Regulatory Framework for the Provision of Value Added Services after a month-long information collection process.
Though kicked against in parts by the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria on the basis that more inputs were needed to make the policy holistic and realistic, NCC Executive Vice Chairman, Umar Danbatta, maintained that the joint examination of the draft regulatory framework is important because of the contribution of the VAS segment to the consolidation of the gains of the telecoms sector.
In March 2016 the NCC invited stakeholders to the consultative forum to review the framework for the provision of VAS in Nigeria, especially content services.
According to NCC, the review is necessary “to protect, balance and reconcile stakeholders’ interests” with a set of draft regulatory guidelines to achieve certain policy objectives based on its conclusion that the country’s VAS industry is beginning to approach maturity.
Nigeria’s VAS market, which comprises services including text messages, ringtones, mobile internet sites, short codes, call centre services and special numbering services, is said to be worth US$200 million yearly and is expected to reach $500 million in the next five years.
However, despite its size and direct access to consumers, this segment of the Nigerian telecoms market has been loosely regulated in the past with calls to curb unethical practices by operators who are allegedly bent only on driving up their average revenue per users.
Complaints from the public include unsolicited messages, forceful activation of auto-renewed VAS and a lack of harmonised short-codes and USSD by network operators.
Also this week, the NCC has invited interested parties to apply for licenses for 25 MHz Slot (Time Division Duplex) 3.5GHz spectrum bands available in twenty six states of the country within a 3-week period ending 13 May 2016.
Going by previous similar calls, the invitation of application from interested parties will enable NCC to come up with a timetable for the auction. The spectrum slot will be licensed on a state-by-state basis.
Posted by Janice Johnson (Source: ITwebafrica)