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NCC Moves To Strengthen Colocation, Infrastructure Sharing Market Segment

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NCC Moves To Strengthen Colocation, Infrastructure Sharing Market Segment

…Engages PwC to conduct a study on competition level

Olushola Okunlade Writes

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has commenced the process of conducting a study to assess the current level of competition in the colocation and infrastructure sharing (CIS) segment of the Nigerian telecommunications sector. Seventy-eight licensees are currently operating in that market segment.

The study is to enable the Commission to have insightful and evidence-based facts to glean the dynamics at play and ensure the continuous growth of the CIS segment of the telecom market. The NCC takes this issue as a priority in view of the critical role played by the colocation and infrastructure sharing segment of the telecom ecosystem in ensuring robust services.

NCC Moves To Strengthen Colocation, Infrastructure Sharing Market Segment
Left-Right: Mr. Ajibola Olude, Executive Secretary, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria; Mary Iwelumo, Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers; Mrs. Yetunde Akinloye, Director, Policy, Competition and Economic Analysis, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC); Engr. Bako Wakil, Director, Technical Standards and Network Integrity, NCC; Yomi Arowosafe, Lagos Zonal Controller, NCC; Dapo Otunla, Chief Corporate Services Officer, IHS and Mr. Sunday Atu, Deputy Director, NCC, during a stakeholders’ forum for the consultancy study on the level of competition in colocation and infrastructure sharing market of the Nigerian telecom industry held in Lagos recently.
NCC Moves To Strengthen Colocation, Infrastructure Sharing Market Segment
Mrs. Yetunde Akinloye, Director, Policy, Competition, and Economic Analysis, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC)

Already, the Commission has engaged the services of Messrs. Price Waterhouse Cooper (PwC), one of the world’s reputable consulting firms, to conduct the study on its behalf, in the exercise of NCC’s regulatory functions as provided in the Nigerian Communications Act (NCA), 2003. The study is expected to be concluded between April and July 2022.

Speaking at the NCC’s stakeholders’ forum recently organised in Lagos on the commencement of the study, the Director, Policy, Competition and Economy Analysis (PCEA) at NCC, Yetunde Akinloye, who represented the Executive Vice Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, said the forum was hosted to intimate operators in the CIS segment of the telecom market on the study and to secure their buy-in and cooperation with the consultants undertaking the study.

NCC Moves To Strengthen Colocation, Infrastructure Sharing Market Segment
Group photograph of NCC staff.
NCC Moves To Strengthen Colocation, Infrastructure Sharing Market Segment
Cross section of participants.

Akinloye reasoned that, in line with its mandate of creating an enabling environment for competition among operators in the industry as well as ensuring the provision of qualitative and efficient telecommunications services, the NCC periodically conducts studies to assess the level of competition in the industry.

“Having successfully conducted competition assessment studies in 2005, 2010, and 2013, the Commission had issued determinations based on the findings of the studies while the outcome of such studies has also enabled the Commission to come up with various regulatory interventions and initiatives to continuously provide a level-playing field for the interplay of market forces. These procedures are emplaced by the Commission to ensure fair, efficient, and sustainable competition in the Nigerian telecom industry,” Akinloye said.

Despite the measurable progress made by the Commission, Akinloye stated that, since the successful completion of the 2013 study, there had been significant development and activities in some market segments of the industry that had necessitated the conduct of another competition study.

NCC Moves To Strengthen Colocation, Infrastructure Sharing Market Segment
NCC Moves To Strengthen Colocation, Infrastructure Sharing Market Segment

For instance, at the time the 2013 study was conducted, the CIS market segment was still at an embryonic stage and as such, much emphasis was not placed on it. However, “The CIS segment has recorded significant growth and transformation over the years having about 80 licensees, operating in the segment while its performance and activities continue to impact significantly on other segments of the Nigerian industry. The Director PCEA also informed that activities in the CIS market have also attained the targets set out in the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (2020-2025)”.

Akinloye further declared that the overarching objective of the study is to provide current insights into the level of competition in the CIS market segment and articulate strategies to enhance opportunities in the market, as well as ensure the deepening of competition which will ultimately support the provision of innovative services for the benefits of both market players and the consumers at large.

“Therefore, in line with NCC’s participatory approach to regulation, this initial stakeholders forum has been convened to formally introduce the project and the appointed consultants to the industry”. Akinloye informed participants and asserted that the forum provides opportunities for stakeholders to gain an understanding of the objective, scope, and methodology of the study, as well as to ensure that questionnaire or Request for Information (RFI) developed by the consultants to access the level of competition in the market are well understood.

Thus, Akinloye rallied the stakeholders to see the forum as an opportunity “to seek and receive clarification based on presentation delivered by the consultant and to make comments on issues relating to the study. She urged all participants to “commit to the objectives of the study, by providing complete, timely feedback to questionnaires.”

Director, Technical Standards and Network Integrity at NCC, Bako Wakil, also joined Akinloye in seeking the full cooperation of licensees in the CIS segment of the telecom market whenever they are approached by the consultants for relevant information either through the instrumentality of the RFI or through one-on-one sessions with consultants in the course of the implementation of the study.

NCC Moves To Strengthen Colocation, Infrastructure Sharing Market Segment
NCC Moves To Strengthen Colocation, Infrastructure Sharing Market Segment
Engr. Bako Wakil, Director, Technical Standards and Network Integrity, NCC

According to Wakil, the study is in the interest of the CIS licensees, other players, and the consumers. It will also provide the Commission with useful and evidenced-based insights necessary to ensure healthy competition and a level-playing ground in the CIS segment and ensure sustainability in the growth of the telecommunication industry.

“Also, rest assured of the confidentiality of any information provided to the Commission in the course of this study, no matter how sensitive,” Bako said to the enthusiastic audience.

Earlier in her presentation to telecom stakeholders at the event, Partner at PwC, Mary Iwelumo, amplified the voice of the Commission on the objectives of the study and urged them to cooperate with the firm in providing accurate, timely and adequate responses to the RFI or the questionnaire that would be administered. This will ensure that appropriate information is to obtained to address the challenges in the sector.

Iwelumo stated that the study is to analyse the structure and operations of the collocation and infrastructure sharing segment of the telecoms market, draw out insights and advise the Commission on necessary regulatory interventions required.

Iwelumo further listed three major tasks of PwC in the execution of the study to include: gathering data, reviewing and analysing information that would be sourced from the Commission, the operators, other jurisdictions for benchmarking; engaging identified stakeholders to get feedback and suggestions after the completion of market assessment; and finally to make recommendations and prepare the study report.

“Operators are very critical to the success of the study. Therefore, they would be involved in this critical assignment, as important sources of information, as providers of technical inputs, and finally, help to validate the findings of the study,” Iwelumo said to underscore the role of operators in the study.

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Danbatta Applauds Pantami’s Appointment As WISIS Chair

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NCC Releases Final Information Memorandum For Auction Of 3.5GHZ, Compile Responses To Stakeholders

…Hon. Minister has been playing in driving fundamental digital economy policies – Danbatta

Olushola Okunlade Writes


The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, has congratulated the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, on his appointment as the Chairman of the 2022 World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) Forum by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

Danbatta described the choice of the Minister as chair of the Forum as a worthy recognition of Nigeria’s leadership role in the global digital economy ecosystem, noting that Nigeria has continued to hold a front-row seat in the promotion of information and communication technology (ICT) as a driving force for national development since the assumption of office of the Minister.

“On behalf of the Board, Management, and Staff of the Nigerian Communications Commission, I want to express our profound delight and congratulations to the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, on his well-deserved appointment by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to chair this year’s WSIS Forum”, Danbatta stated.

“The appointment did not surprise us at NCC, given the important role the Hon. Minister has been playing in driving fundamental digital economy policies, being implemented by agencies under his supervision, in order to boost the diversification policy of the Federal Government,” the EVC said.

“We are, therefore, happy to associate with the Minister on this feat, as it means greater recognition for Nigeria. The appointment is an indication that the world has continued to take notice of the giant strides of Nigeria’s digital economy under the supervision of the Minister.

The NCC will continue to do everything within its regulatory mandate to further support the Federal Government’s drive for ubiquitous, affordable, and accessible digital services across all nooks and crannies of the country,” Danbatta said.

Following consultations with various stakeholders, the ITU recently notified the Minister via a letter, of his appointment as the 2022 WSIS Chairman.

The ITU is orgainsing the WSIS 2022 Forum in collaboration with other agencies with the United Nations with a focus on “ICTs for Well-Being, Inclusion, and Resilience: WSIS Cooperation for Accelerating Progress on the SDGs”.

As has been noted elsewhere, the appointment of Prof. Pantami has given Nigeria, and indeed, the African continent, the unique role of coordinating the activities of the WSIS in its 20th year, following the WSIS Phase I meeting which took place in 2003.

The WSIS Forum 2022, which will be attended by several high-level stakeholders, including Cabinet Ministers from ITU countries, will serve as a key platform to discuss the role of ICTs as a means to bolster the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals targets. The discourse will take place in the context of the mechanism for follow-up and review of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (UNGA Resolution A/70/1).

The WSIS Forum also provides an opportunity to track the achievements of WSIS Action Lines in collaboration with the UN Agencies involved and provides information and analysis on the implementation of WSIS Action Lines since 2005. The Forum aims at enhancing cooperation, partnership, innovation, exchange of experiences, and good practices in ICTs for sustainable development across the world.

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Hackers Can Unlock, Steal Your Vehicles, NCC Alerts Nigerians

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NCC Issues Final Letters Of Licence Awards To 5G Spectrum Winners

…Warns of vulnerability to new Android trojan apps

Olushola Okunlade Writes

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) wishes to alert telecom consumers and members of the public on an ongoing cyber-vulnerability that allows a nearby hacker to unlock vehicles, start their engines wirelessly, and make away with the cars.

The fact that car remotes are categorized as short-range devices that make use of radiofrequency (RF) to lock and unlock cars informed the need for the Commission to alert the general public of this emergent danger, where hackers take advantage to unlock and start a compromised car.

According to the latest advisory released by the Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT), the Cybersecurity Centre for the telecom sector established by the NCC, the vulnerability is a Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) attack or, more specifically, a replay attack in which an attacker intercepts the RF signals normally sent from a remote key fob to the car, manipulates these signals, and re-sends them later to unlock the car at will.

With this latest type of cyber-attack, it is also possible to manipulate the captured commands and re-transmit them to achieve a different outcome altogether. “Multiple researchers disclosed a vulnerability, which is said to be used by a nearby attacker to unlock some Honda and Acura car models and start their engines wirelessly. The attack consists of a threat actor capturing the radio frequency (RF) signals sent from your key fob to the car and resending these signals to take control of your car’s remote keyless entry system,” the advisory stated emphatically.

However, the NCC-CSIRT, in the advisory, has offered some precautionary measures or solutions that can be adopted by car owners to prevent falling victim to the attack.

According to the cyber-alert unit of the Commission, “When affected, the only mitigation is to reset your key fob at the dealership. Besides, the affected car manufacturer may provide a security mechanism that generates fresh codes for each authentication request, this makes it difficult for an attacker to ‘replay’ the codes thereafter. Additionally, vulnerable car users should store their key fobs in signal-blocking ’Faraday pouches’ when not in use.”
Importantly, car owners in the stated categories are advised to choose Passive Keyless Entry (PKE) as opposed to Remote Keyless Entry (RKE), which would make it harder for an attacker to read the signal due to the fact that criminals would need to be at close proximity to carry out their nefarious acts.

The PKE is an automotive security system that operates automatically when the user is in proximity to the vehicle, unlocking the door on approach or when the door handle is pulled, and also locking it when the user walks away or touches the car on exit. The RKE system, on the other hand, represents the standard solution for conveniently locking and unlocking a vehicle’s doors and luggage compartment by remote control.

Additionally, in a related advisory, the NCC, based on another detection by CSIRT, wishes to inform the general public about the resurgence of Joker Trojan-Infected Android Apps on the Google Play Store. This arose due to the activities of criminals who intentionally download legitimate apps from the Play Store, modify them by embedding the Trojan malware, and then upload the app back to the Play Store with a new name.

The malicious payload is only activated once the apps go live on the Play Store, which enables the apps to scale through Google’s strict evaluation process. Once installed, these apps request permissions that once granted, enable the apps to have access to critical functions such as text messages and notifications.

As a consequence, a compromised device will subscribe unwitting users to premium services, billing them for services that do not exist. A device like this can also be used to commit Short Messaging Service (SMS) fraud while the owner is unaware.

It can click on online ads automatically and even use SMS One Time passwords (OTPs) to secretly approve payments. Without checking bank statements, the user will be unaware that he or she has subscribed to an online service. Other actions, such as stealing text messages, contacts, and other device data, are also possible.

To avoid falling victim to the manipulation of hackers deploying Joker Trojan-Infected Android Apps, Android users have been advised to avoid downloading unnecessary apps or installing apps from unofficial sources. The NCC also wishes to advise telecom consumers to ensure that apps installed from the Google Play Store are heavily scrutinized by reading reviews, assessing the developers, perusing the terms of use, and only granting the necessary permissions.

Conclusively, the NCC recommends that unauthorized transactions be checked against any installed app. Indeed, any apps not in use should be deleted while users are also advised to ensure that a device is always patched and updated to the latest software.

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NCC, FIRS Inaugurate Joint Committee To Boost National Revenues In Telecoms Sector

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NCC, FIRS Inaugurate Joint Committee To Boost National Revenues In Telecoms Sector

Olushola Okunlade Writes

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) have taken their collaboration a notch further by setting up a Joint Committee of senior and management staff of the two agencies towards the implementation of inter-agency strategies for enhancing national revenues in the telecommunications sector.

The NCC’s Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management, Adeleke Adewolu, inaugurated the 17-member committee on behalf of the Commission’s Executive Vice Chairman, Prof. Umar Danbatta, and the Executive Chairman of the FIRS, Mr. Muhammad Nami, at the NCC’s Board Room in Abuja on Tuesday, May 10, 2022.

NCC, FIRS Inaugurate Joint Committee To Boost National Revenues In Telecoms Sector
Group Picture of FIRS staff and NCC staff.
NCC, FIRS Inaugurate Joint Committee To Boost National Revenues In Telecoms Sector
Mrs. Ben-Obi; Mr. Irri; Barr Adewolu; and Mr. Nwokenneya.

The inauguration of the committee, comprising six officials of NCC and eleven officials of FIRS, was carried out with senior officials of NCC and those of the tax agency led by its Coordinating Director for Compliance Support Group, Dr. Dick Irri, who represented the FIRS’ Executive Chairman, Muhammad Nami at the event.

While inaugurating the Committee on behalf of the heads of the two agencies, Adewolu stated that the terms of reference (ToR) of the Committee include: reviewing the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the NCC and the FIRS on June 9, 2020; and carry out inter-agency interaction on the implementation of the NCC’s Revenue Assurance System (RAS), to ensure that it incorporates the needs of FIRS to the extent that RAS can remain the sole interface with telecom service providers’ networks vis-à-vis the Tax Authority’s information needs from the telecoms sector.

Given the Committee’s composition and the extensive experience and commitment of its members – which had informed their selection by the agencies – Adewolu stated that the management of NCC and the FIRS expected no less than an excellent output from the Committee, tasking them to work together harmoniously and in the overall national interest.

Also in his comments, Dr. Dick Irri, who led the FIRS delegation to the inauguration, advised the Committee to take the assignments very seriously. “I would like to task you to take this assignment as a national matter as we expect the two agencies to work in harmony, collaborate effectively, and have a warm handshake that will make this synergy between the two agencies a great example of collaboration between Federal Government agencies towards enhancing fiscal governance in Nigeria,” he said.

The decision to set up the Committee was one of the major outcomes of the meeting between the FIRS and the NCC on March 8, 2022, organized at the instance of the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Pantami, to discuss the request by the FIRS for data and documents from the telecoms industry for enhancing national revenues from the sector.

NCC, FIRS Inaugurate Joint Committee To Boost National Revenues In Telecoms Sector
Left-Right: Dr. Dick Irri, Coordinating Director, Compliance Support Group, FIRS; and Barr Adeleke Adewolu, Executive Commissioner Stakeholder Management, Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC.
NCC, FIRS Inaugurate Joint Committee To Boost National Revenues In Telecoms Sector
Left-Right: Mrs. Chiaka Ben-Obi, Group Lead, Digital and Innovation Support Group, FIRS; Irri; Adewolu; Mrs. Faozat Ogunniyi, Group Lead, Enforcement Support Group, FIRS; Mr. Ephraim Nwokenneya, Director, Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement, NCC; and Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, Director, Public Affairs, NCC.

The inauguration is a significant achievement, as it deepens the strategic collaboration between the two government agencies in the pursuit of their statutory objectives. It also vindicates the emphasis placed on achieving mutually-sustainable relationships with relevant stakeholders as detailed in both the NCC’s Strategic Management Plan (SMP), 2020-2024, and the Strategic Vision (Implementation) Plan (SVP 2020-2025) as well as FIRS’ strategic framework.

The activities of the NCC and the FIRS are acknowledged as pivotal to the achievement of sustainable revenue and growth projections of the Federal Government. In this regard, the telecoms sector has sustained a relatively high contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) over the years – ending the fourth quarter of 2021 at 12.6 per cent.

Besides, the FIRS recently acknowledged that some telecom licensees contribute a significantly high percentage of total national tax revenue. It is expected that the Joint Committee will enable both organizations to further optimize revenues for the Federal Government from the telecoms, digital economy, and adjacent sectors of the economy.

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