No, We Won’t Regulate OTT- FG
By Josh Babatunde
The federal government has dashed the hopes and expectations of telecommunications operators in the country over regulations of Over the Top (OTT) services ,saying, “No, we are not ready to regulate OTT at the moment”.
This was disclosed through the telecoms regulator, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) at the weekend during the Telecoms Executives and Regulator Forum (TERF) organised by the Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), held in Lagos.
Tagged: ”Removing Barriers To Growth And Innovation”.
According to the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Prof Umar Garba Danbatta, the complaints of telecoms operators won’t force us to regulate the OTT services instantly based on their importance and impact.
The OTT services include WhatsApp, Facebook, Snapchat,Viper and messenger.
Though Danbatta was represented by the Deputy Director, Technical Standards and Network Integrity of NCC, Engr. Bako Wakil.
“NCC is not contemplating any regulations in that aspect because what the operators are advocating is for us to deny people having access to those facilities. You know that Facebook and WhatsApp owners don’t have any infrastructure here in Nigeria and they are not even based here but they are riding on existing infrastructures here in Nigeria.
“Operators have complained severally however, because of the social effect of those services, the NCC is not contemplating regulating those aspects for the time being.”
In reaction to regulating the OTT services, President of Association of Telecom Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Mr. Olusola Teniola said, NCC aside advise should help telecom operators create innovations that would beat the OTT services.
He reiterated that operators may not want to partner with the OTT players but as it were, they would have no choice but to partner with them.
“The problem is that they have to see that some of the services that are offered on the platforms are treated in the same manner, that their voice is also being regulated. That is the debate.”
Teniola posited that no one is asking the OTT players to go away but stated that they should invest in infrastructure in the country the same way they invested in infrastructure in Kenya and Uganda.
“We need to encourage that more in Nigeria. I think from the NCC perspective, it doesn’t want to regulate the OTT services right now, it is right, but I think inevitably, if they continue to offer types of critical and emergency services that has to do with voice, then, they may have to start regulating them, ” he said.