Barr. Adeleke Adewolu, Executive Commission, Stakeholder Management at NCC (middle) at One of the MONs' Headquarters in Lagos Photo: NCC

NCC embarks on facility inspection, engages operators for regulatory effectiveness

*A delegation of the top Management of the Nigerian Communications Commission visits the Headquarters of the country’s Mobile Network Operators to inspect their technical infrastructure and other facilities, says it is committed to deepening operator-regulator relations

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

A delegation of the top Management of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has visited the headquarters of Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to inspect their technical infrastructure and other facilities as part of the Commission’s initiative to strengthen and deepen regulatory engagements and relations with telecoms operators in the country.

The NCC said that the delegation, led by Barr. Adeleke Adewolu, Executive Commission, Stakeholder Management (ECSM) at NCC, was in Lagos for a week-long exercise essentially to get first-hand information about MNOs’ operations as well as verify challenges the MNOs may be dealing with in order to make recommendations to appropriate stakeholders towards addressing the challenges.

Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, Director of Public Affairs at NCC, Thursday, February 17, 2022, described the inspection as the first of its kind in the history of the Commission and an initiative of the Office of the ECSM of NCC.

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The telecoms regulator said it was part of the Commission’s efforts at ensuring operational efficiency and improvement in the regulatory framework in achieving the objectives of the national digital economy and other policy initiatives of the Federal Government.

According to the Commission, places visited during the regulatory inspection included Airtel, 9Mobile, Globacom, MTN and Spetranet, where the NCC delegation engaged Managements of the telecoms companies in robust discussions to gain insights into their operational issues.

“The delegation equally visited the operators’ data centre facilities, assessed their compliance with the NIN-SIM linkage exercise at their customer care centres, and also inspected the landing stations of international submarine cables,” Dr. Adinde noted.

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During the visits, the Commission also said the delegation was received warmly and guided on the tour of the facilities by Airtel’s Chief Commercial Officer, Godfrey Ofeuhobo; 9Mobile’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Juerjen Perchel; Globacom’s Head of Regulatory Services, Michael Toluhi; MTN’s Chief Executive Officer, Karl Toriola; and Spectranet’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Ajai Avasthi respectively.

“The operators commended the Commission for ensuring effective telecom regulatory regime towards addressing challenges confronting their operations,” stated the NCC.

The MNOs further beseeched the NCC delegation to continue to develop initiatives aimed at reducing the impact of their major operational challenges on the service delivery and their revenues.

Highlights of MNOs’ operational challenges

The operators as well enumerated a number of areas where increased and more decisive interventions are needed from the Commission to include the issues of wilful and inadvertent fibre cuts; theft of telecoms equipment; non-availability and inadequacy of, as well as unstable power supply; multiple taxation and regulations across all the three tiers of government.

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Others, according to NCC, are damage caused undersea cables by marine transportation systems; scarcity and difficulty in accessing Foreign Exchange (Forex); as well as insecurity which has impeded network rollout, especially in some parts of the country.

Commenting at each juncture during the visit, Barr. Adewolu, ECSM at NCC, commended the operators for their cooperation on the implementation of NIN-SIM integration directive.

Adewolu stated that the telecoms sector has played a significant role in ensuring the delivery of the mandate of the National identity Management Commission (NIMC) through collaboration facilitated by the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy.

Adewolu, particularly implored the operators to ensure compliance with all regulatory guidelines, directives and to ensure prompt and efficient delivery on their licensing conditions as good corporate citizens.

NCC’s pledge to ensure improvement in MNOs’ operations

The Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management pledged that NCC would  continue to take proactive measures that would improve the MNOs’ operations, and  equally forge necessary collaborations to ensure sustainability of the telecoms sector and its contribution to the growth of country’s economy.

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The tour of operators’ facilities, Adewolu stated, was in line with NCC’s effort at ensuring effective stakeholders interface necessary for the achievement of the objectives detailed in the Commission’s Strategic Management Plan (SMP) 2020-2024 and the Strategic Vision (Implementation) Plan (SVIP) 2021-2025.

The NCC’s ECSM further said: “The main purpose of this inspection tour of MNOs’ head offices and key facilities is to measure impact of regulatory efforts and operational effectiveness of the initiatives in the telecom ecosystem.

“The tour is also to assist in deepening understanding of the issues that are negatively affecting the ability of licensees to operate optimally; and it certainly offered opportunity for interacting and networking with executive management of MNOs in order to enhance operator-regulatory purposeful interface.”

The Commission stated in regard to the reckoning of all participants, the visit and tours constituted a groundwork for continuing and prompt issues-resolution on a day-to-day basis, and with a clear promise for knowledge update on infrastructure situation and business cases among senior personnel of the Commission towards a more effective regulation in Nigeria.

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