The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has granted Mobile Telecommunication Network (MTN) Nigeria and the Emerging Markets Telecommunication Service Limited (EMTS) — trading as 9Mobile in Nigeria — the approval to carry out a trial on National Roaming Service for a period of three months.

In an official statement released by the commission, the trial which started from August 1, 2020, will end by October 31, 2020. The trial approval covers a few local government areas, designated as the National Roaming geographic area, in Ondo State.


Roaming Service enables a mobile subscriber to automatically make and receive voice calls, send and receive data, or access other services when travelling outside a particular network geographical area. This can be done by utilising the network coverage of other networks with roaming arrangements to access service.

Read also: NCC mandates network operators to comply with consumer complaints within 48 hours

According to the commission’s director of public affairs — Dr Ikechukwu Adinde — MTN and 9mobile are expected to configure their networks to begin test and simulation for customer experience with the approval. While the executive vice-chairman (EVC) of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta stated that the primary objective of the National Roaming Service trial is to encourage network resource sharing among operators.

“The successful implementation of the trial will enable EMTS subscribers to access MTN network service within the National Roaming trial geographical area without the need for an MTN Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) card,” Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta said.

To a large extent, this new development will help improve the services for subscribers in the rural areas who may not have access to network coverage.

This was corroborated by the statement from the EVC. Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta noted that the National Roaming Service will lead to operational expenditure (OPEX) optimisation and capital expenditure (CAPEX) efficiencies leading to freeing up of resources to expand mobile network coverage to unserved and underserved communities across the country. He added that this will lead to improved Quality of Service (QoS) delivery to subscribers.

It should be noted that at the moment, the National Roaming Service hasn’t been approved for other network providers like Airtel Nigeria and Globacom. However, MTN and 9mobile, as well as other network providers in Nigeria, enable their subscribers to make and receive voice calls and SMS when they go outside the Nigerian network to a GSM network anywhere in the world that offers prepaid roaming.

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