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Telecom operators seek regulation of OTT services


Gbenga Adebayo, Chairman, Association of Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON)Telecommunications operators in Nigeria recently called for licensing and regulation of over-the-top services such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp Messenger to generate more money for the country.

Mr Gbenga Adebayo, Chairman, Association of Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), told newsmen in Lagos that telecom regulators should no longer be neutral to technology regulation.

According to the ALTON chairman, it is technology that is now driving telecom market and not services.“We are beginning to see the need for regulators to look at regulating technology instead of services.

“For example, the likes of YouTube, Facebook,Twitter, WhatsApp, Blackberry Messenger and many others are called over-the-top services that are not part of the core services for which operators are licensed.

“These over-the-top services have social, economic and security implications.“If they are not licensed, it means they are not regulated, and in that case, there is no limit to the scope of what they can do.“There is also no control over services and content they may provide,” he said.

According to Adebayo, nowadays people send messages mostly on WhatsApp and some other social media platforms than they do on the conventional SMS services.He noted that telecom operators were only licensed to supply voice, data and text messages for which they were charged on annual basis.“Over-the-top services don’t have those types of attraction, which I believe is a loss of revenue for both regulators and the country,’’ Adebayo said.

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ALTONGbenga Adebayo
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