Cablegate: Satellite Licensing in Nigeria

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.



Commerce for NTIA

E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Satellite Licensing in Nigeria

Ref: State 69641

1. EconOff met with Nigerian Communications Commission
Special Assistant to the Chairman C.A. Ojobo on April 26 to
discuss Intelsat and market access for satellite operators
in Nigeria per reftel. According to Ojobo, the Nigerian
government continues to support the privatization of
Intelsat slated for July 18.

2. The GON does not allow commercial satellite operators
access to the Nigerian market. NITEL, the state-owned
telecommunications company, is the only commercial operator
with an international gateway (for both voice and data).
The exception to NITEL's international monopoly will be the
three GSM licensees who, according to the license
agreement, are permitted to negotiate service agreements
with satellite service providers. However, Ojobo
explained, any private, non-commercial, entity could apply
for a license to transmit data via satellite. He said that
the NCC evaluates each of these private applicants on its
own merits. Ojobo stated that the licensee must agree to
transmit only data, not voice, and the transmission must be
from a single point to a single point, not a single point
to multiple points (as would be the case with commercial
services). Some exceptions are made for diplomatic
missions who use V-SAT to transmit both data and voice.

3. Ojobo said that a draft telecommunications law,
currently under review by the House Committee on
Telecommunications, might change the regulations governing
satellite licensing. He promised to provide EconOff with a
copy of the draft legislation in two weeks time. Post will
report on any changes that the pending legislation might

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