NCC’s Strategic Management Plan: Crystalysing the digital economy

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The unexamined life is not worth living is a famous dictum apparently uttered by Greek philosopher Socrates at his trial for impiety and corrupting youth, for which he was subsequently sentenced to death, as described in Plato’s Apology (38a5–6), but determined not to observe Socrates’ dictum in the breach, telecommunications sector umpire, the Nigerian Communications Commission(NCC)undertook an organizational assessment, as captured in its Strategic Management Plan(2020-2024), just released, that has a place for the sixth generation(6G) Technology.

Using an adapted political, economic, social, technological, environmental and legal /

Regulatory(PESTEL) model, the Commission carried out an organizational assessment covering its internal and external environments.

“The focus of the macroenvironmental analysis was based on a communication industry study and,

developments in emerging technologies that are shaping the industry, including digital economy

policy and strategy of Government. For the microenvironmental analysis, the emphasis was

key communication stakeholders needs analysis and value proposition, while internal situation

analysis centered on people and culture issues,” the Commission stated in its SMP 2020-2024.

Key highlights of the findings and conclusions of the various analyses are presented below:

Trends in Global Telecommunication Industry

“Two decades of disruptive innovation has led to the commoditization of telecoms industry

products with over-the-top (OTT) players presenting the stiffest competition. In most cases, this

arises primarily from the diversification of the service range afforded by OTT platforms. These

disruptions have blurred the distinction between telecoms products and those of allied verticals

(i.e. industries that are driven/will be driven by technology, e.g. financial services (mobile money),

agriculture, health, transportation, etc.) The main elements of the disruption range from Web

Access (Mobile Broadband vs Wi-Fi), to Mobile-to-Mobile (M2M) services vs Internet of Things

(IoT), cloud computing, OTT services to big data management and generational change in network

delivery capacity from 1G to 5G in the last forty years with 6G in the works in the near future.

Key drivers of emerging technologies identified during the assessment stage included, Cybersecurity,

Big Data & Analytics, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Cloud Computing, IoT & M2M, Network Functions

Visualization (NFV), Nextgen Mobile Networks (5G).

“The main issues arising from this are:

– How does NCC regulate Emerging Technologies? How does NCC cope with challenges of

regulating Emerging Technologies in the face of cybersecurity and privacy issues, fast pace of

changing technologies, and disruption of business models?

There were some suggested principles of regulating Emerging Technologies that should inform the

new SMP. These include:

An Adaptive Regulation Model, a shift from ‘regulate and forget’ to a responsive approach
Regulatory Sandboxes, prototype and test new approaches by creating sandboxes and accelerators
Collaborative Regulation
Streamline Regulation, nationally by engaging a broader set of players across the ecosystem
Risk Weighted Regulation, a shift from one size fits all approach to segmented data driven approach.”

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