Telecommunication industry in Nigeria is highly regulated for a smooth running and efficient functionality. There are two major laws making up the legal framework regulating the Nigerian Telecommunication sector. They are:
1. Wireless Telegraphy Act
2. Nigerian Communications Act 2003

Wireless Telegraphy Act

The Wireless Telegraphy Act (WTA) was initially enacted in 1961. Having preceded all other extant laws in the sector, the WTA nevertheless continues to provide clarity in relation to the nature of the regulatory management of communications in Nigeria. Essentially, the Act seeks to regulate the licensing, location and operation of wireless telegraphy services in Nigeria. The Act provides Wireless Telegraphy to mean:
…the emitting or receiving, over paths which are not provided by any material substance constructed or arranged for that purpose, of electromagnetic energy of a frequency not exceeding three million megacycles a second, being energy which either-
(a) serves for the conveying of messages, sound or visual images (whether the messages, sound or images are actually received by any person or not), or for the actuation or control of machinery or apparatus; or
(b) is used in connection with the determination of position, bearing or distance, or for the gaining of information as to the presence, absence, position or motion of any object or of any objects of any class
The Act makes it is an offense for a person to establish or use any station for wireless telegraphy, or install or use apparatus for wireless telegraphy except in accordance with a license issued by the Commission. The Act further gives the interpretation of the “Commission” to mean the Nigerian Communications Commission (with regard to telecommunications matters) and the National Broadcasting Commission (with regard to broadcasting matters).


Nigerian Communications Act, 2003

The Nigerian Communications Act 2003 after its successful passage by the two Chambers of the National Assembly, signed into law by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, GCFR President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on 8th July, 2003. This birthed a new phase of Telecommunication Industry in Nigeria. The Act repealed the Nigerian Communications Commission Act No. 75, 1992; the Nigerian Communications Commissions (Amendment) Act No. 30, 1998 and the Nigerian Telecommunications and Postal Offenses Act No. 21 of 1995 as amended.
The objectives of this Act which as contained in the first Section of the Act, has sufficiently and clearly shown the regulatory tentacles of the Act over the Telecommunication Industry in Nigeria. It provides :
The primary object of this Act is to create and provide a regulatory framework for the Nigerian communications industry and all matters related thereto and for that purpose and without detracting from the generality of the foregoing, specifically to—
(a)s promote the implementation of the national communications or, telecommunications policy as may from time to time be modified and amended;
(b) establish a regulatory framework for the Nigerian communications industry and for this purpose to create an effective, impartial and independent regulatory authority;
(c) promote the, provision of modem, universal, efficient, reliable, affordable and easily accessible communications services and the widest range thereof throughout Nigeria;
(d) encourage local and foreign investments in the Nigerian communications industry and the introduction of innovative services and practices in the industry in accordance with international best practices and trends;
(e) ensure fair competition ill all sectors of the Nigerian communications industry and also encourage participation of Nigerians in the ownership, control and management of communications companies and organisations;
(f) encourage the development of a communications manufacturing and supply sector within the Nigerian economy and also encourage effective research and development efforts by all communications industry practitioners;
(g) protect the rights and interest of service providers and consumers within Nigeria;
(h) ensure that the needs of the disabled and elderly persons are taken into consideration in the provision of communications services; and
(i) ensure an efficient management including planning, coordination, allocation, assignment, registration, monitoring and use of scarce national resources in the communications sub-sector, including but not limited to frequency spectrum, numbers and electronic addresses, and also promote and safeguard national interests, safety and security in the use of the said scarce national resources.
Section 3(1) of the Act further provides for establishment of a Commission to be responsible as the hand of the Act to carry out the regulatory duties of the industry. It provides:
There is established a Commission to be known as the Nigerian Communications Commission with responsibility for the regulation of the communications sector in Nigeria.


Telecommunication industry in Nigeria is highly regulated for a smooth running and efficient functionality.

The consonance of the above two sections has clearly depicted that the Nigerian Communications Act of 2003 is the primary and major law regulating the affairs of the Communication Sector in Nigeria. The  Act further provides:

(1) The Commission may make and publish regulations for all or any of the following issues:
(a) written authorizations, permits, assignments and licenses granted or issued under this Act;
(b) assignment of rights to the spectrum or numbers under Chapter VIII, including mechanisms for rate-based assignment;
(c) any fees, charges, rates or fines to be imposed pursuant to or under this Act or its subsidiary legislation;
(d) a system of universal service provision under Chapter VII, including but not limited to the quality of service standards;
(e) communications and related offenses and penalties;
(f) any matter for which this Act makes express provision; and
(g) such other matters as are necessary for giving full effect to the provisions of this Act and for their due administration.
(2) The Commission may also make and publish guidelines on any matter for which this Act makes express provision and such other matters as are necessary for giving full effect to the provisions of this Act and for their due administration

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