NCC Introduces New Rules for Closed User Group (CUG) Services in Nigeria’s Telecom Industry

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has unveiled updated guidelines for Closed User Group (CUG) services, set to go into effect from November 1, 2023. CUG is a supplementary service offered by mobile operators, allowing subscribers to make and receive calls and SMS within a select group.

The comprehensive document titled “Conditions For Offering Closed User Group (CUG) Services in the Nigerian Telecom Industry,” signed by the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, outlines 14 conditions along with sub-conditions.

NCC has extended the provision of CUG services to large corporate organizations, government bodies, Not-For-Profit Organizations, registered residential estate associations, trade associations, and micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

The regulator specifies that CUG offerings must consist of at least three Mobile Station International Subscriber Directory Numbers (MSISDNs). For the various categories, the maximum numbers of MSISDNs (subscribers) are capped as follows: MSME – 200, Residents Estates Association – 2000, NGO – 10,000, Government Agencies – 20,000, Large Corporate Organization – 30,000, and Trade Association – 2000.

Nigerians Spent N3.33tn On Calls, Data in 2022 — NCC

NCC has set a pricing structure for CUG services. The minimum access fee for both prepaid and postpaid CUG services is established at N400, while the maximum is capped at N5,000. The new guidelines stipulate that CUG services must focus on voice calls and SMS exclusively, without bundling them with data, Value-Added Services (VAS), or other ancillary services.

In terms of pricing, all calls and SMS within a CUG (on-net) must not fall below N0.50/min for voice services and N1.02 for SMS. For calls outside the CUG (off-net), the price floor is set at N6.40/min for voice services and N1.02 for SMS. The price cap for voice services is N50/Min, and SMS is N4 per message.

NCC encourages operators to manage their relationships with entities offering CUG services directly. In the event that a third-party agent is involved, such agents must be duly registered by the Commission and hold a Class License.

Documentation requirements are also outlined. For large corporate organizations, NGOs, and MSMEs, essential documents include business registration, Tax Identification Number (TIN), signed contract agreements, and proof of identification for members within the CUG.

Trade Associations and Resident Estates Associations must also provide business registration documents, TIN, signed contract agreements, and member identification. Requests for these services should be signed by trustees or members of the association’s EXCO. Each subscriber must provide valid means of identification, and a list of staff IDs can be used in place of ID cards.

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