Second president in a row calls for satellite firm to be granted mobile licence

29 Oct 2007

Nigerian President Umar Yar’Adua has ordered the country’s telecoms regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), to ‘immediately’ grant a mobile operating licence to satellite company NigComSat. The satellite operator has sought the concession and frequencies required to provide cellular services since it launched its first orbiter NigComSat-1 in May 2007. It claims former President Olusegun Obasanjo actually granted it an express mobile operating licence on the eve of his departure, also in May. NigComSat’s management also argued that the company’s technical expertise and facilities placed it in a position to offer better mobile services than the public are getting from any one of the four operational cellcos, Celtel, Glo, MTN and M-Tel. The NCC initially refused to grant it a concession, stating in August that the satellite firm had no mandate to offer ‘last mile’ services.