Earlier today, Reuters reported that the Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) has announced the withdrawal of Mobile Broadband Ltd’s operating license. The telecoms company, which is a subsidiary of Vodafone, was established in 2016 to provide high-speed 4G data services to Zambians.
Three years after incorporation, Mobile Broadband Ltd has failed to “fulfil the eligibility requirements” for which it was licensed. Before the decision to withdraw its license, the company was reportedly experiencing both technical and financial troubles which ultimately affected the quality of service it rendered to its customers.
“The Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority has cancelled network and service licences issued to Mobile Broadband Limited trading as Vodafone Zambia Limited.
“The cancellation is on the grounds that Mobile Broadband Limited has ceased to fulfil the eligibility requirements… by not being technically and financially capable of meeting the obligations and terms and conditions of the licence.”
Will this ever happen in Nigeria? The development in Zambia has prompted the question about whether the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) will ever withdraw a telecoms company’s license over poor service. This is an important question, considering the fact that Nigerians are always complaining about the poor services rendered to them by their service providers.
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Note that much like ZICTA, the NCC’s regulatory roles in Nigeria’s telecoms industry include giving licenses and withdrawing the said licenses when need be. But despite the many complaints of operational inefficiency that have trailed some telcos, the regulator has never for once withdrawn a license. It has, however, imposed sanctions on some erring companies.
Note that unlike Mobile Broadband Ltd which is experiencing both technical and financial problems, Nigerian telecoms companies seldom face both financial and technical challenges at the same time. As a matter of fact, the only Nigerian telco that has been faced with serious financial troubles was 9mobile. Perhaps this explains why the NCC has never taken the drastic action of revoking a telco’s license like its counterpart in Zambia just did.
In the meantime, the NCC may not have any need to revoke the license of any telecoms company in Nigeria. However, it has become necessary for these companies to consistently improve on their services for the sake of efficiency and customers’ satisfaction.