Economy and Business

NCC releases guidelines for telecoms operators sharing masts

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has released a guideline for network service providers sharing the same location and some other facilities.

The 31-page document approved by the Executive Vice Chairman of telecoms regulator, Prof. Umar Danbatta, recognises the fact that some of the services providers co-locate and share infrastructures such as right of way, masts, poles amongst others.

Many operators share facilities to save costs of transmission and reduce liabilities that come with maintaining them solely.

According to the document, co-location is a major element of the interconnection of networks essential for operations.

It also stated the need that operators agree on terms of its implementation towards ensuring seamless interconnectivity.

However, while reeling off some of the guidelines for co-location and infrastructure sharing, the NCC stated that access provider shall provide capacity to other operators on a “first-come, first
served” basis.

This is determined in accordance with the order in which the operator owning or having control over a facility, receives requests for infrastructure sharing.

It further explains that the access provider reserves the right to refuse an application for infrastructure sharing on grounds of insufficient capacity, safety, reliability, incompatibility of facilities and other concerns.

“Subsisting indebtedness of Access Seeker to Access Provider on similar infrastructure sharing arrangements, provided this ground for refusal shall not apply to Co-location in respect of interconnection.”

While the regulatory body may weigh in, the decision to refuse an application for infrastructure sharing shall be communicated in writing to the Access Seeker specifying the reasons for such refusal.

On infrastructure sharing agreement, the NCC explained that it must specify the contractual terms and conditions agreed on by the parties and such agreements shall be registered with the Commission.

“As a precondition for registration, every infrastructure sharing agreement shall be
submitted to the Commission for review and approval.

The Commission shall in reviewing infrastructure sharing agreements ensure that the
terms on which infrastructure sharing is offered are in compliance with the principles of
neutrality, transparency, non-discrimination and fair competition.

Every Infrastructure sharing agreement that has been duly negotiated and executed by
parties shall be submitted to the Commission within seven (7) working days for review
and approval. The Commission shall, within twenty-one (21) working days, review and approve the agreement, provided that all information requested by the Commission are
received,” the guideline read.

The commission, however, sounded a note of warning that the prices for infrastructure sharing should be non-discriminatory, reasonable, and based on the actual costs incurred by the owner of the facility.

“Determination of the costs underlying prices should be transparent and neutral,” it added.NCC releases guidelines for telecoms operators sharing masts

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