NSA intervenes to protect telecom infrastructure
National Security Adviser (NSA) has intervened by issuing a directive to state governors to advise their revenue agencies to stop the closure of telecommunications base stations on the basis of revenue collection.
This is an added impetus to the efforts by telecommunications operators and Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to protect telecommunications infrastructure.
Engr. Gbenga Adebayo, chairman, Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) who disclosed this to Nigeria CommunicationsWeek while outlining telecom stakeholders’ expectations for the new year, said, that the directive by NSA to the state governors highlighted the economic importance of telecommunications infrastructure which far over-weigh revenue consideration for shutting down of base stations.
“If this directive is well implemented, it will translate to improved quality of service in 2017,” he said.
Adebayo further urged Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to make available foreign exchange for telecom operators to access for network expansion.
“Today, most of the operators are challenged in the area of securing foreign exchange for the importation of equipment for the upgrade of their network to deliver better service quality as well as in the launch of 4G LTE technology. If operators can’t secure foreign exchange to import equipment for network upgrade, it will jeopardize the efforts of government to improve broadband penetration in line with her 30 percent broadband target by 2018,” he said.
He also called on NCC to revisit the data floor price determination in order to save and encourage small operators in the sector.
“Data floor price determination is meant for small operators not for big operators who will still survive with the present situation. We are trying to avoid a situation where CDMA operators died because of price war. If data price is determined, it will encourage small operators in the sector. We need to look at it beyond public sentiment and emotions around it and revisit the issue for the growth of the industry,” he said.
Corroborating Adebayo, Olusola Teniola, president, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) added that the industry regulator needs to revisit the data price floor to determine the appropriate data pricing to ensure that investors have certainty in government policies in order for them to bring capital that will be used for infrastructure deployment required for broadband.