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Nigeria's NCC Unveils The VAS Aggregator License Framework

I have written extensively on Aggregation Construct. Few days ago, someone brought to our attention that the Nigerian Communications Commission had finalized its VAS Aggregator License framework. Depending on your business interest. you may find it useful. It sets the stage on what you can do on the airtime waves with the telcos in Nigeria.

Aggregation is "osisi na'ami ego" [the tree that produces money as fruits, in Igbo language]. Yes, you can be sleeping while the digits keep adding up in the bank account. Think of Facebook, Google, etc. They feed on the raw materials (your photos for Facebook, your websites for Google) created by the community. Practically, they do not have to generate any content. NCC has set the stage for Nigeria: it could be glory time. Go figure!

A Value Added Service (VAS) Provider is any person or organization that engages in the provision of value added mobile/fixed services, including premium rated services. The VAS providers will have to sign a contract with a network operator enabling the provision of such services (NCC, Nigeria)

This is the Framework in case you have interest in the VAS sector.

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This framework for the control and regulation of the VAS industry in Nigeria is developed in pursuant of the Nigerian Communications Act, 2003 which empowers the Commission to make subsidiary laws as it deems fit for the purpose of achieving the objectives of the Act. The framework is not totally modelled after any country’s regulatory style or practice, nor does it seek to re-invent the wheel. It is synthesized and adapted to the prevailing economic, social and regulatory conditions in Nigeria and recognized the international Best Practices in its formulation

NB: Be guided. The way NCC defines aggregator is totally different from the concept of aggregation concept. In NCC's case, aggregators are simply providing physical connections to networks, for multiple VAS,  and they do not have access to subscribers. These NCC explanations will help:

Network operators will provide final link to the subscriber for the purpose of delivering value added service to the end user. The operators will not be allowed to host or distribute VAS to its subscribers directly.

An aggregator will primarily provide a concentration point to limit the number of devices that will be directly connected to the operators. It will eliminate the need for a Content Service Provider to maintain multiple physical connections to each network operator. It will either not be allowed to host, or distribute contents and applications, nor have access to the information passing through it or perform any data level processing.

Content and applications service providers (present VAS licensees) are the only players that will be allowed to pool, host and distribute content and applications using their own in-house software and hardware platforms. They will have direct logical links to operators network. They will not be physically linked directly to the operators, but will have to go through aggregators.


This is Amazing! A huge relief from the Stress of getting a permit from MTN & Co before you can get a VAS code. On the other hand, NCC just made the Aggregators King; let's see how they rule!

A Clause in the Stucture terms for Aggregators isn't quite clear: "It will either not be allowed to host, or distribute contents and applications, nor have access to the information passing through it or perform any data level processing."

Are they Aggregators being given an option here or is it that NCC isn't too sure of what their duty is or maybe wrong English?

Under most scenarios as you noted "On the other hand, NCC just made the Aggregators King", the aggregators could be king. However, nothing stops the telcos being the kings. The other comment captured that: "A Clause in the Structure terms for Aggregators isn't quite clear". Aggregation most times require a total control because it is a two-sided game. In this one, it is really one-sided game. It does not usually work well!

Hmm! I get it now. Thanks Prof.