The Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) has on Thursday published an advertorial calling on companies to register as Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) in Nigeria within the next 30 days. NCC believes this would increase the telecommunication options available to mobile subscribers in the country.
According to the guidelines for MVNOs in Nigeria, mobile network operators (MNOs) may not apply for the new license. Furthermore, the cost of the license would range from N30 million to N250 million across the 5 available tiers.
- The Tier 1 would operate as a Virtual Operator; Tier 2 as a Simple Facilities Operator; Tier 3 as a Core Facilities Operator; Tier 4 as a Virtual Aggregator/ Enabler; and Tier 5 as the Unified Virtual Operator.
What NCC is saying
Part of the advertorial post reads “in its drive to create an enabling environment, the Commission hereby introduces Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) License that will generate employment and bridge the gap between the unserved and the Underserved in Society. It will also further engender competition and provide choices for telecommunication consumers.”
What this means
MVNOs ride on the infrastructures already set or established by MNOs and as such do not need to build facilities in the country they have an operating license in. Instead, they leverage existing facilities owned by MNOs.
The entrance of MVNOs in the Nigerian telecommunication space should give competition to existing operators in the sector and ultimately reduce the cost of calls and data for mobile subscribers. Also, MVNOs could bring better telecommunication services to rural communities with little or no access.
What you should know
The tier 5 cost of N250 million for a MVNO operating license is cheaper than that of MNOs. In March 2022, MNOs companies, MTN and Airtel, paid N71.9 billion (almost US$173 million) to renew their Universal Access Services (UAS) licences for another 10 years.