The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) said it will enforce the use of Special Numbering Service (SNS) assigned to telecom operators in other to ensure sustainability, profitability and fair competition in the segment.
This move informed the decision of the Commission to hold a Stakeholders’ Forum on the ‘Determination of Call Termination Rate for Special Numbering Service Providers in Nigeria.’
The forum, held at the conference Room, NCC Head Office in Abuja on Tuesday, November 16, 2021, was well attended by representatives of Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), Special Numbering Service (SNS) providers and other stakeholders who participated actively in the discussions.
Addressing the gathering, the director, Policy, Competition and Economic Analysis at NCC, Yetunde Akinloye, said the meeting was convened following the extensive work of a committee set up by the Commission to look into the issues and complaints emanating from the SNS segment of the telecoms market. A key concern according to her was the perception of the high cost of delivering services to end-users in the SNS segment.
Accordingly, Akinloye stated that “This meeting is convened to discuss issues pertaining to the special numbering services (SNS) segment of the Nigerian telecommunications market.
Statutorily, the NCC is the custodian and manager of the toll-free and non-toll-free numbers licenses, on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria”, she said.
She explained that owing to the scarce and finite nature of the numbers in the sector, the NCC, as the regulator, was under obligation to ensure the utilisation of the numbers by the licensees in a way that delivers value to the final consumers and ensures the sustainability of the industry.
“The SNS has been in existence for the past 15 years, with some licensees actively engaged in the segment. However, we have noted some observations and complaints from different quarters on the use of these numbers. We have observed, for instance, that there has been no effective utilisation of the numbers” she said.
Akinloye also said the Commission had observed that the uptake of the numbers has been abysmally poor, contrary to NCC’s expectation as the sectoral regulator. She stated that NCC has also received complaints from the licensees regarding the perceived high rates and charges by Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) who are owners of the major infrastructure being used by SNS providers to deliver services to end-users.
According to her, based on this, the NCC set up a committee to do a thorough review of the market segment; research similar markets in other jurisdictions for benchmarking; and determine the appropriate call termination rates, through proper investigation, consultation and stakeholder engagements.
She said the Committee had done extensive work in this regard and as part of its rule-making process and regulatory transparency, the NCC has organised the consultative forum “to share outcomes of the Committee’s findings with the licensees, discuss the regulatory interventions that need to be taken and get inputs from all MNOs, SNS providers and other relevant stakeholders.”