Operations of the Value Added Service (VAS) providers were enlarged in 2019, following the licensing of 10 new aggregators by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC). The NCC in a document said the 10 new additions became necessary to deepen the market, and further improve scalability, with VAS market value now at $200 million, but projected to hit $500 million by 2024.
The Guardian gathered that the 10 new aggregators include I-Cell Multimedia Limited; Nina-Jojer Limited; 21st Century Technologies Limited; Nitroswitch Limited; HML Consulting Limited; and Iykejordan Limited. Others are Cognys Systems Limited, Perpetual Communications Limited, Mobile Intelligence Limited, and Aerandir Technologies Nigeria Limited.
The NCC said it is hopeful that the VAS aggregator licence will improve innovation, local content, employment opportunities, and increase in income stream to both network operators and content developers. The document also revealed that within the year, over 24 million validly registered subscriber records were scrubbed/cleaned-up (de-duplicated) via Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS), in fulfilment of the mandate to establish a credible database of telephone subscribers.
NCC also upgraded the database with additional features such as “Add SIM” and “Update SIM” functionalities as well as the National Identity Number (NIN) field for improved SIM registration process and ease of harmonisation of subscriber data with the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) when the NIN regulation comes into force.
Consequently, in line with the Federal Government’s directive, the Commission is collaborating with the NIMC towards the implementation of the mandatory use of NIN, which stipulates its use for transactions such as SIM registration, reactivation/retrieval.The Commission explained that the SIM registration project supports the agenda to “Facilitate Strategic Collaboration and Partnership” by fostering a synergy/partnership with security agencies towards the adoption and usage of technology innovations to improve security in Nigeria.
The Programme, according to NCC is designed to facilitate the registration of all telephone subscribers in the country, to mitigate security concerns on the challenges of tracking criminal use of telephones in Nigeria, through Identity and security management. This will also to ensure the establishment of a credible database of SIM card subscribers as an enabler to the overall Citizen Identification System.
Also in the course of the year, the Commission unveiled regulation on e-waste, and guidelines on disaster recovery at a stakeholder engagement forum, in Abuja.The NCC described e-waste as electrical or electronic equipment that is waste, including all components, sub-assemblies and consumables that are part of the equipment at the time the equipment becomes waste. Apart from their solid and non-biodegradable nature, some of the toxic elements found in e-waste include lead, mercury, lithium, and other ozone-depleting substances.
Making reference to a recent report by World Economic Forum (WEF), the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, indicated that e-waste is now the fastest-growing waste stream in the world, which spiked by about 48.5 million tonnes in 2018.
According to Danbatta, in Africa, the challenge is even dire, as in a fast-paced telecoms industry where speed and capacity define the networks, rapid advances in technology make it easier and convenient to change malfunctioning gadgets than to repair them.He said illegal and predatory e-waste value chain, which encourages the movement of e-waste from developed to the developing countries, adds another layer to the global challenge of handling e-waste.