The license category authorizes foreign space segment satellite operators to provide services in Nigeria. The authorization is in line with the directives enshrined in the Nigerian Communications Act NCA-2003 and the Commercial Satellite Communications Guidelines for the telecommunications industry in Nigeria, which came into effect in November 2018.
The updated official list of authorized space stations in Nigeria released on 31 August by NCC featured 68 licensees, indicating that regulatory body issued additional 13 permits to operators from the 55 landing permits disclosed in December 2019.
The official list released in December 2019 featured the 55 space stations operated by Avanti Hylas-2 Ltd, Eutelsat, Immarsat, Intelsat, OneWeb, SES-owned NSS Licensee and Yahsat. The updated list now includes American operator Iridium with permits for eight space stations.
New licenses include Eutelsat KONNECT which was launched in January 2020 to provide satellite communications services to Africa and parts of Europe. SES acquired five additional landing permits through its UK-based subsidiary NSS Licensee B.V, which became effective starting 10 August 2020 for the O3B network.
In terms of the frequency band of operation, the majority of the satellites are based on C-band and Ku-band frequency. Ka-band frequencies feature significantly with SES’s five newly licensed space stations on Ka-band.
With 55 of the 68 space stations providing mainly Fixed satellite services, FSS remain the dominant service type in the country as opposed to mobile satellite services(MSS). Iridium’s eight space stations with landing rights in Nigeria account for the majority of the ten MSS-only landing permits issued by NCC.
NCC maintains the official list of Authorized Space Stations in Nigeria which is updated biannually to reflect the status of market access and all the Landing permits issued or modified (depending on whether the Commission has been notified with a request for a Landing Permit or a request to remove a Space Station from service or the Landing Permit of a Space Station has lapsed). The list provides information for each Space Station Landing Permit holder such as Space Station’s licensing administration, orbital location; the name of Space Station/Operator; Frequency bands, Frequency range and Service type (either Fixed or Mobile satellite service). It also includes Bandwidth and Landing Permit duration.
Joseph Ibeh is a Mandela Washington Fellow and Senior Analyst at Space in Africa. His experience spans industry research and market analysis with a focus on African-grown NewSpace companies, commercial space industry, national space programmes and real-life application of space science for sustainable development in Africa.