Telecom providers in Nigeria run the risk of being fined N250 000 for every abandoned tower under the new technical criteria for the deployment of infrastructure.
In a document that was made public on Monday, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) stated that a tower may be deemed abandoned if it has been vacant for a continuous period of three years.
The inspections by the Guardian revealed that there are more than 40,000 telecom towers in the nation. However, NCC highlighted that in cases where abandonment is at issue, it may ask the owner or operator for the necessary evidence to ascertain the date of abandonment.
According to the 90-page document seen by The Guardian, the owner must demolish and remove the tower from the land within 90 days of receiving the commission’s notice of removal following the commission’s judgment of abandonment (Commission).
According to the paper, “An abandoned tower that is not removed within the 90-day period may be removed by the commission and the removal charges as well as a minimum penalty of two hundred and fifty thousand naira (N250, 000) shall be paid by the owner to the Commission.”
A licensed tower inspection service provider hired by the Commission is required to check all towers at least once every six months to determine the structural condition of the tower and its supporting equipment, according to the NCC.
The telecoms regulation states that owners of towers that do not meet the requisite inspection requirements will be notified and must make the necessary repairs within 30 days; otherwise, the owner will be compelled to pay the commission a penalty equal to 20% of the tower’s cost.
The NCC also implied that anyone building a communications mast or tower with a height greater than 20 meters would need to apply for a permit from the commission before doing so.
The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) must issue a permit before the structure can be built in the desired location. The permit must include the proposed location of the structure’s erection as well as the coordinates of the closest airport, heliport, or helipad, or alternatively, provide proof of ownership of the property on which the structure is to be installed or the owner’s written consent. The commission highlighted that a tower’s anticipated service life is 25 years.
The NCC stated in another document named “Guideline on Promotional Advertising” that advertisements cannot unfairly criticize, denigrate, or attack rival goods, services, advertisements, or businesses or overstate the significance of competitive differences.
The commission mandated that licensees offering Internet connections must disclose the Internet connection “speed available to end-users as well as specific upload and download speed.” The commission further stated that no licensee shall copy the slogans or visuals of another advertiser in a way that would deceive the consumer. It emphasized that if the connection speed was only possible under specific conditions, those conditions should be made known.
The licensee shall now include a thorough report of the promotion that clearly identifies the products and/or services and the intended audience, according to the NCC. It said that the licensee would be informed of the acceptance or rejection within seven days of the application being received.
“Within three days of the beginning of the promotions, all permissions must be registered with the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission. The licensee must make sure that its network can handle any traffic that may result from this campaign. According to the NCC, the licensee is required to make sure that the tariff associated with such a promotion does not go over the rates authorized by the Commission.
The commission emphasized that all promotions must not falsely portray the licensees’ ability to offer the products and services at the stated conditions and that licensees must identify the duration and date range of such promotion as well as the date of redemption of such promotional benefits.
“This must be clearly indicated in the communication for the promotion if supply of the goods and services is constrained or the licensee can only satisfy a portion of the demand. The licensee must indicate the duration and the date range of any promotions or advertisements that incorporate promotions, as well as the date on which promotional advantages must be redeemed, according to the agreement.
NCC stated that it retains the power to deny any promotion application. Within seven days after receiving the application, the licensee must be informed of any rejections.