The world’s richest man, Elon Musk, has revealed that the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has issued his company, Starlink Internet Limited, two licenses to operate in Nigeria.
Starlink Internet Limited, which is operated by SpaceX, will be marketed as Starlink Internet Services Nigeria Limited.
The company received the two licenses, which include the International Gateway License and the Internet Service Provider (ISP) License, after months of negotiations with the NCC.
However, NCC Public Affairs Director Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde could not be reached by phone to confirm this, and he did not respond to the WhatsApp chat, which THISDAY sent him for confirmation.
However, a reliable NCC source who confirmed this told THISDAY that Starlink applied for three licenses last year, while NCC considered two of the licenses last week after Starlink met certain requirements.
The source, however, said that NCC will issue an official statement when it concludes the approval process for both licenses.
But Musk, via his Twitter account, said NCC had confirmed and approved both licenses, before issuing Starlink with the operational licenses.
The license follows a visit to Nigeria by the company’s team in May last year.
Starlink provides satellite Internet access coverage to 32 countries where it has been licensed for use. It also provides high-speed, low-latency Internet access around the world.
Within each coverage area, orders are fulfilled on a first-come, first-served basis.
THISDAY understood that the International Gateway license is for 10 years while the ISP license is for five years. Both licenses are effective from May 2022 and can be renewed after expiration.
With fast speeds and latency as low as 20 minutes in most locations, Starlink enables video calling, online gaming, streaming, and other high data rate activities never before possible with the Internet. by satellite.
Users also have the option of taking Starlink with them through the portability feature or Starlink.
In May last year, Starlink’s Market Access Director for Africa, Ryan Goodnight, and SpaceX consultant, Levin Born, visited the NCC where they expressed interest in obtaining a license. to operate satellite internet in the country.
Prior to the visit, the NCC and the space company had discussed the issue virtually before approval for a physical meeting was granted by the NCC.
After SpaceX representatives provided an overview of its plans, expectations, license applications and deployment phases, Executive Vice President, NCC, Professor Umar Danbatta, represented by Executive Commissioner, Technical Services, NCC, Ubale Maska , had promised that the NCC would work on the necessary terms to ensure that it balances the need for healthy competition vis-à-vis the entry of new technologies, in order to protect all players in the industry.
He said: “As regulator of a very dynamic sector in Nigeria, the commission is aware of the need to ensure that our regulatory actions are rooted in the national interest.
“We have listened to your presentation and will consider it against our regulatory direction to ensure an efficient and sustainable telecommunications ecosystem where one licensee’s operating model does not impede healthy competition among other licensees. “
Maska further said that the commission is interested in making the necessary regulatory efforts to boost coverage in the rural, unserved and underserved areas of the country through the achievement of the targets contained in the Nigerian National Broadband Plan, 2020- 2025.