The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) licensed a total number of 20 new Internet Service Providers (ISPs) between January and October this year. This makes the operators licensed by the NCC 120 in number.

The number of licensed operators was at one time over 170 but because of the challenges surrounding the business, many operators quit.

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The newly licensed companies include: Last Mile Unique Integrated Services Limited, Ciudad Infrastructure Limited, Torrent Wireless Limited, Fastfeet Limited, Tripple Logic Telecommunications Limited, Gutti Global Solutions Limited, Telequip & Digital Limited, Vobiss Gridworx Nigeria Limited, Brainshare Technologies and Services Nigeria Limited, Tech-Systems Limited, MM Telcom Global Limited, Access Solutions Limited, Mobile AD Limited, and Internetsional Technologies Limited.

Others are: Paychex International Marketing Limited, Arif Investment Nigeria Limited, Unique El-Mao Nigeria Limited, Megamore Wireless Broadband Limited, CITCC Nigeria Limited, Tecpoint Global Solution Limited, Cloud Exchange West Africa Limited, and Butterfly Telecommunications Network Limited.

What you should know: The exit of some of the old ISPs was due to a number of challenges faced in the sector, and this has, in turn, had effect on the active service providers. One of the challenges is the serious pressure the ISPs have come under from mobile network operators (MNOs) over the years.

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The intense competition and other operational challenges such as increasing capital and operational expenditure have been cited as the bane of ISPs in the country.

Nairametrics understands that this has led to the low rate of renewal of licenses by the ISPs which is affecting the Internet service segment of the country’s telecommunications sector. Reports have it that out of the 20 firms, whose licenses got expired this year, only one renewed it. This means that the remaining 19 have exited the business.

Addressing the issue, the NCC’s Director of Licensing and Authorisation, Funlola Akiode, urged the operators to renew their licenses and fulfil their licensing obligations.

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“Another important concern is in the area of licence renewal. We also observed the issue of delay in licence renewal by licensees whose licences have expired or about to expire. 

They erroneously relied on the aspect of the licence document which states that their licence would be automatically renewed. I wish to reiterate that renewal of expired licence is not automatic but subject to fulfilment of obligations such as being up to date in payment of AOL, development and publication of approved Individual Consumer Code of Practice, updated type approval of telecoms equipment, payment of spectrum and numbering where applicable etc,” Akiode said.

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She concluded by saying that the commission was ready to clarify and take recommendations from the operators on the challenges facing the business so as to find a way out and impact the industry positively.

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