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Telecoms operators lose 19 firms to economic meltdown, competition

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Operatives in Nigeria’s telecommunications market lost 19 of their members to economic meltdown, forces of competition and other business and environmental challenges.

The operators, numbering 35 firms 15 years ago, have shrunk to only 16 members in active operation.

Speaking in Lagos yesterday at the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) Stakeholders Forum on the study of competition level in the telecoms industry, President of the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Gbenga Adebayo, said it was disheartening that the number of telecoms operators continued to shrink.

He lamented that in the last few years of the sector’s liberalisation, “we were 35 active members, but as I speak, we are only left with 16 members. We have supposedly lost the rest to economic challenges, competition, multiple taxation, vandalism and theft, among others.

The Guardian gathered that operators such as Starcomms, Multilinks, O’net, Visafone, Rainbownet, Webcom, MTS Wireless, Disc Communications, among others, are among players that were forced out of the market.

Findings also revealed that the issue of Right of Way also posed a huge challenge to operators as it accounted for over 60 per cent of the total amount required to putting up infrastructure.

Adebayo called on government at all levels to see telecoms as infrastructure of infrastructure, which “if allowed to collapse, would negatively impact other sectors of the economy.”

Meanwhile, NCC’s Director of Commission and Economic Analysis, Josephine Amuwa, noted that the commission would ensure that the sector was protected against economic challenges capable of stunting its growth.

Amuwa said the objective of the study was to provide current insights into the level of competition in the telecommunications market and articulate strategies, as well as recommendations to enhance opportunities and ensure the deepening of competition that could result in the provision of innovative services to consumers.

She noted that it was an established fact that competitive markets are the cornerstones of a vibrant telecommunications industry as it encourages innovations and fosters efficiency.

“In recognition of this fact, the commission periodically conducts studies to assess the level of competition in the industry in line with its mandate of creating an enabling environment for competition among operators in the industry as well as ensure the provision of quality and efficient telecommunications services in the country,” she stated.

She added that the commission, in the exercise of its regulatory functions, engaged KPMG Professional Services to conduct a study on the assessment of the level of competition in the Nigerian telecommunications industry in 2013.


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ALTONGbenga AdebayoNCC
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