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Nigerian Communications Commission (Reviewed, 30th Mar 2001) Tell your friends about this page! Email it to them.

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is the regulatory authority for the telecommunications industry in Nigeria. Its major role is to facilitate private sector participation in communication services delivery, co-ordinate and regulate the activities of the operators to ensure consistency in availability of service delivery and fair pricing. It is currently involved in the ongoing licensing application for 3 digital mobile phone licences for the country. In all 4 licences will be available with 1 licence already reserved for the Nigerian Telecommunications Limited, NITEL and Mobile Telecommunications of Nigeria, M-TEL. These 4 licences are expected to provide additional 6 million mobile phones in the country the next 5 years. The NCC was created as a result of its enabling Decree 75 of 1992. Its mission statement reads:

"Our Mission is to create a knowledge-based information society through participatory and innovative regulation of the telecommunications industry by a responsive and self-motivated team."


The Nigerian Communications Commission is a powerful and influential agency. It has powers to give written directions to a licensee or an authorised carrier in connection with its functions and consult, where appropriate with the President of Nigeria, commercial and industrial organisations, consumers and standards organisations as well as other relevant bodies.

The Commissionís board consists of 10 commissioners comprising the chairman, eight other members (who are part time), and the Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive. The chairman is Alhaji Ahmed Joda while the executive vice chairman/chief executive is Engineer Ernest C.A. Ndukwe. The NCC consists of 5 departments and 3 units to ensure its smooth functioning.


According to the NCCíS enabling Decree, it should:

  • Create a regulatory environment for the supply of telecommunications services and facilities and the promotion of fair competition and efficient market conduct.
  • Facilitate the entry into markets for telecommunications services and facilities of persons and organisations wishing to supply such services.
  • Protect licensees and the public from unfair conduct of other providers of telecommunications services with regard to the quality of services and payment of tariffs.
  • Promote the development of the telecommunications sector of the Nigerian economy.
  • Establish technical standards and promote the development of Nigerian telecommunications capabilities, industries and skills.

Please note that telecommunication services include Internet and the worldwide web.


According to the NCCís enabling Decree, its functions are stated below:

  • To License telecommunications operators and facilitate private sector participation and investment in the telecommunications sector of the Nigerian economy.
  • To establish and supervise technical and operational standards and practices as well as the approval of the nature of equipment to be used by operators, to oversee the quality of services provided by operators and setting the terms for interconnection of different networks.
  • To ensure that the interests of the consumer of telecommunication services are protected by promoting competitive pricing of such services and combating the abuse of market power.
  • To mediate between operators, carriers and consumers.
  • To report and give advice to the Minister of Communications with regards to formulating telecommunications policies and the control of the telecommunications industry.

Digital Mobile Licensing

Even international observers and participants have lauded the NCC for the transparency with which it has conducted the digital mobile licensing auction exercise.

5 companies have pre-qualified from the first stage and have each paid a deposit of USD$20 million with duly completed application forms. However, these companies still have to overcome a diligence check by the NCC, which will be completed by January 8, 2001. The auction will start on January 17, 2001 in Abuja, Nigeriaís capital. There are indications that the fee for the licences could go as high as USD$150 million. The reserve price is USD$100.The 5 companies that have pre-qualified are:

  1. Mobil Telecommunications Network, MTN.
  2. Communications Investments Ltd, CIL
  3. United Networks Mobile Ltd.
  4. MSI-Celtel Nigeria Ltd
  5. Econet Wireless Nigeria Ltd.

All of these companies are basically consortiums with quite substantial foreign participation. Information on the progress of the auction will be released at the end of each day of bidding. We shall keep you posted on this.

Please note that 3 of these companies have since won the 3 remaining Licences. They are Econet, MTN and CIL. However, CIL's Licence has since been revoked due to its insistence on conditional payments. MTN and Econet have now started operations in some states of the country.

Already Deregulated Telecommunications Services

The following services are already deregulated and interested investors should contact the Nigerian Communications Commission directly, either by email, phone, fax or duly posted correspondence. We strongly suggest to all not to go through any middlemen especially during familiarisation stage:

  • Sales and Installation of Terminal equipment (Mobile Cellular Phones, Satellite communication equipment and Switching equipment etc). 
  • Public Payphone Services. 
  • Internet Services. 
  • Prepaid Calling Card Services. 
  • Community Telephony with exchanges. 
  • Paging Services. 
  • Trunk Radio Network Services
  • 2-Way Radio Networks
  • Fixed Telephony Services, employing cable and Radio. 
  • Satellite Network Services (e.g. Domestic VSAT networks). 
  • Switched/Non-switched Private Networks.
  • Repairs & Maintenance of telecommunications facilities.  
  • Cabling services. 
  • Tele-Centres/Cyber Cafes. 
  • Non-commercial/User Operated Radio Networks.
  • Call Offices/Tele-Centres Permits

The Commission recognised the need to promote universal service and as a first step decided to liberalise the licensing of Tele-centres nationwide. The permits will not attract licence fees but applicants will only be required to pay minimum administrative charges as follows:

Rural - N5,000.00 annually
Urban - N10,000 annually


Nigerian Communications Commission
Plot 19, Aguata Close Garki II, 
P.M.B. 326 FCT Abuja, Nigeria
Fax: +234 9 2344593
E-mail: [email protected]                          Nigeria Internet Group
Website:                        Email: [email protected];

See also: Telecoms & Information Technology

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