Proposed National Roaming will Enhance Seamless Communication – NCC

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Umar Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman, NCC
Danbatta

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THE Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, has allayed fears that the planned introduction of national roaming among telecoms operators would worsen the poor state service quality in the country. The commission insisted that the service will rather boost seamless communication among subscribers in the telecoms sector.

Helen Obi, assistant director, legal and regulatory services, NCC, made the clarification in Abuja, while giving detailed insight into the planned introduction of the national roaming service. “The commission expects that national roaming will further promote seamless communication of subscribers as they will be able to roam on the network of other service providers where their own service provider is unavailable or has limited network coverage.”

NCC is, however, mindful of the possible negative impact that the national roaming may have on service quality and Mobile Number Portability, MNP, issues of fair competition, billing and reconciliation and appropriate roaming agreements.

Ubale Maska, executive commissioner, technical services, NCC, however, noted other issues that may arise if national roaming is allowed such as the extent of regulation required. There is also the possibility that operators may relax in their efforts to rollout infrastructure in under populated areas in anticipation that another operator will do so to provide roaming services in those areas. Maska made the remarks during a consultative forum organised by NCC, to discuss grey areas in the proposed national roaming plan.

He, therefore, enjoined all participants at the forum to freely make their contributions and raise issues that would assist the commission in coming up with the right regulatory decision that would enhance the overall growth of the industry.

The NCC had in December last year, in pursuant to its practice of industry-wide consultations in carrying out its regulatory functions,  published a consultation paper to garner industry perspectives towards developing a regulatory instrument for the provision of national roaming services in Nigeria. It received a total of 10 submissions from the relevant stakeholders.

National roaming refers to the ability of a cellular subscriber to automatically make and receive voice calls, send and receive data, or access other services, including data services, when travelling outside the coverage area of the home network, by means of using a visited network.

It is a type of service or facility which enables the subscriber of one operator to utilise the facilities of another operator with whom the subscriber has no direct pre-existing service or contractual relationship to place an outgoing call or receive an incoming call. National roaming, which is a form of infrastructure sharing, reduces duplication of networks in less populated and remote areas.

—  Oct 3, 2016 @ 01:00 GMT

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