Nigerian mobile market to welcome 25 MVNOs


The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has allocated 25 mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) licences, seeking to boost competition in the country’s growing mobile market

This week, the NCC has announced the allocation of 25 MVNO licences, arguing that these new providers will help extend telecoms services to more rural and underserved areas of the country.

Nigeria’s mobile market is currently served by four national operators: MTN, Globacom, Airtel and 9Mobile. MTN controls roughly 40% of the market, with Globacom and Airtel vying for second place with roughly 25% of the market each. 9mobile is in a distant fourth place with less than 10% market share.

Until now, none of these operators have been required to make provisions for MVNOs to use their networks.

In Nigeria, only around half of the population has access to mobile broadband, with only around 4% having access to 4G. As a result, the NCC fears that the country is at risk of falling behind its regional peers, necessitating a shakeup of the mobile market.

The NCC subsequently announced their intention of introducing MVNOs in 2021, saying that the move would boost competition in the market and accelerate the provision of broader services to customers across the country.

Now, the NCC has made ten-year licences available in five tiers, each more expensive than the last, with the higher tiers allowing the MVNOs increasing control over how they make use of mobile network operator’s infrastructure and market their services.

Licencing fees ranged from 35 million naira ($76,000) for a Tier 1 licence to 500 naira ($1.08 million) for a Tier 5 licence.

No companies opted for a Tier 1 licence, while seven obtained a Tier 2 licence, seven received a Tier 3 licence, four received a Tier 4 licence, and eight received the highest Tier 5 licence. The list of recipients can be found here.

In total, the regulator raised around 5.9 billion naira ($13 million) from the licencing process.

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