With over 150 million active telecommunication subscribers and still counting in Nigeria, it is unarguably that Nigeria has the biggest mobile telephony and spectrum market in sub-Saharan Africa. This situation has necessitated the need to put measures in the industry as it concerns the buying of new SIM cards and retrieval of lost SIM cards, spectrum management and trading.
The Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) has called for Public Inquiries on the Draft Registration of Telephone Subscribers Regulations, SIM Replacement Guidelines and The Spectrum Trading Guidelines in the country. This move is to bring the industry to the best practice and in line with what is obtainable in developed world.
The NCC is in line with its exercise of its functions under the Nigerian Communications Act 2003 (the Act) and this is in accordance with Section 57 of the Act, Public Inquiries in respect of the above-mentioned draft regulatory instruments have been scheduled to hold virtually at 11.00am on Tuesday, October 5, 2021.
The issue of SIM card replacement is coming at a time the nation is trying to harmonize the national identities. NCC is in sync with the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to ensure that SIM cards aren’t used to perpetuate crimes. The Public Inquiries will be looking at gray areas that would be addressed.
In line to encourage Transparent process of allocation of frequency spectrum,The Commission encouraged the stakeholders to submit their proposition on Spectrum Trading Guidelines. These would address issues such as spectrum trading, warehousing and other forms of spectrum management.
This is coming at a time the National Digital Economy Policy (NDEPD) is showing commitment in the development of Nigerian digital space and how digitization would power the economy. As we all know that SIM card is a form of digital identity where transactions such as banking and other USSD are made, the need to look have a public inquiry becomes imminent in an ever-growing ecosystem as Nigerian telecoms space.
The Commission states that Interested stakeholders are by this notice invited to make written submissions on the subject and participate in the Public Inquiries. Details of the virtual meeting will be forwarded to interested attendees prior to the Public Inquiries. All submissions must reach the Commission on or before Friday, September 24, 2021 and should be addressed to:
The Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission, Plot 423, Aguiyi Ironsi Street, Maitama, Abuja and to the Director, Legal and Regulatory Services.
Anthony Emeka Nwosu