Telecommunications: Guide on How to Obtain Value Added Services License in Nigeria

Value Added Services (VAS) in the telecommunications industry refer to network-based services other than voice calls that are provided in various forms such as text, video, graphics, pictures, multimedia, or data for the purpose of conveying information or executable content. These services are often supplied for an additional cost and can include a variety of services such as:

  • Information services/content: news, updates, data, quizzes, games, ringtones, video streaming, alerts, product information, call centers, and database access.
  • Interactive services/applications: charting, contest participation, e-voting, e-government, text-to-win, polls and surveys, coupons, online games, promotions, prepaid calling card services, call directories, and location-based services.
  • Commerce: mobile money, e-ticketing, telemarketing, e-health and e-banking.

The VAS sector is divided into four major segments, with the following market players:

  • Network operators
  • Aggregators
  • Content and application service providers, and
  • Developers of content, applications and platforms

Regulatory and Legal Regime for Value Added Services (VAS) in Nigeria

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is the regulatory agency responsible for providing licences and guidelines for Value Added Services in Nigeria. The NCC ensures that customers are informed about the nature and costs of VAS services, that consumers have the opportunity to opt in and out of services, and that there are complaint resolution systems in place.

The primary regulations and frameworks that govern VAS in Nigeria are:

  • NCC Value Added Services and Aggregator Framework, 2018:This framework defines a VAS provider as a person or organisation that provides value-added mobile/fixed services. It specifies the conditions for VAS activation, deactivation, denial of activation, or illegal deactivation.
  • NCC Competition and Market Rules for VAS Businesses in Nigeria: These regulations prohibit network operators from providing VAS, save for NCC-approved services. They also specify the conditions of VAS hosting, including technical specifications and requirements for content and application providers.

Procedures for obtaining a Value-Added Services License in Nigeria

To obtain a Value-Added Services (VAS) license in Nigeria, the applicant must follow these steps:

  1. Sign up on eservices.ncc.gov.ng and click on Licensing Application Management System to apply
  1. Fill the form and upload the relevant documents listed below:
  • Certificate of Incorporation.
  • Tax Clearance Certificate.
  • Certified True Copy (CTC) of Articles & Memorandum of Association.
  • Feasibility report of proposed service.
  • Soft Copy of Passport photographs of authorized representative.
  • Certificates of qualified technical staff (where applicable).
  • Certified True Copy (CTC) of Form CO7 (List of Company Directors).
  • Soft Copy of Passport photographs of Directors of the company.
  • Certified True Copy (CTC) of Company’s Registered Address.
  • Utility bill of the official address of the Company.
  • Evidence of funding for the project.
  • The amount budgeted for the project i.e. estimated funding for the deployment of the proposed service.
  1. Applications should be submitted when all documents above have been uploaded.
  1. On submission of the application, a non-refundable administrative charge, which is 5% of the relevant license fee would be paid via the Licensing Application Management System.
  1. License fee is payable on approval of application.
  1. All Automated Vehicle Tracking Service (AVTS) applicants henceforth must obtain a security clearance from the State Security Service (SSS) for the proposed service before applying for the license, as a condition precedent for the grant of license by the Commission. The Personal History Statement Form (PHS) for the company and its Directors will be provided by the Commission for completion by applicants.
  1. All VAS (Content Service using Short Code) applicant (s) must present:
  • Evidence of an Agreement or a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) entered between the company and any of the VAS Aggregators.
  • Alternatively, the company should provide a copy of License duly issued to it by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for Mobile Money Services or from the National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC) for lottery services.

The applicant must meet all NCC technical and financial requirements, as well as the license’s terms and conditions. It is advisable to seek proficient legal guidance to verify that all requirements are met and the application process is performed correctly. A foreign or local company can successfully obtain a Value-Added Services license in Nigeria if it follows these processes and meets the essential standards.

By Adeola Oyinlade & Co.

Note: The content of this article is anticipated to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstance.

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