Why Federal Government should give Telecom Operators Incentives


Gbenga Adebayo, chairman, Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria, appeals to the federal government to give telecom operators incentives to enable them cope with competition

By Anayo Ezugwu

THE Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria, ALTON, is asking the federal government to consider giving incentives to telecom operators who are deploying modern day telecom services across the nation.  Gbenga Adebayo, chairman, ALTON, during the launching of a new product by Smile Communications Limited in Lagos, said the incentives could be as basic as waiver on custom duties for terminals and devices to make the industry more friendly and competitive.

“The time is now that we begin to look at issues of incentives again. Many years ago, when we presented our prayers to government, we got similar concession. I think the time is here again while we respond to modern trends and changes in technology, the government should consider incentives for small players because of the difficulty in our operating environment.

“I do not agree with tier 1, tier 2 and tier 3 players arrangement because investment is not discriminatory. If you are building a site, it doesn’t cost you less as a small player than it cost a bigger operator. So the issue of tier 1 or tier 2 operators does not arise. The fact is that it cost all basically the same amount to do what we do.

“Again, 5G is here, we need to come up as an industry with our roadmap towards 5G migration. We have been told that there will be significant investment required, which is usual, we have been told that there will be changes in some of the devices that we currently use. Operators will have to optimise their equipment and their sites to be able to deliver on this service,” he said.

Adebayo also called on the operators to come up with a clear roadmap on how to embrace 5G. He urged the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, to revisit the data floor plan enable operators know the minimum chargeable for data.

He recalled that the NCC commissioned a data floor plan study in the industry about two and half years ago, adding that there was a need to revisit the issue to know what should be the minimum chargeable.

Realnews recalls that several internet service providers, ISPs, has been crying against what they described as unhealthy competition in the Nigerian data segment, which they blamed on the absence of a minimum price limit or data price floor. They are of the opinion that the absence of data plan floor has caused serious confusion in the industry as some major network operators are relying on the vacuum to give out bountiful data at cheaper prices.

This is why Adebayo challenged the NCC to come up with the outcome of the study on data plan floor. “The fact remains that while some of us are stronger in certain areas, some are not strong. So even if a small operator buys bandwidth far away from a big operator, he goes and resells the bandwidth almost at the same rate as the big operator will resell the bandwidth. So it is difficult for smaller players in the industry to compete. We must revisit the issues of the data floor plan and now is the right time to do that.”

Other issues addressed by the ALTON chairman include: national roaming, Over The Top, OTT, services and multiple taxation. On national roaming, he said the association was working with the NCC to develop a suitable national roaming policy. “We hope that will see the light of the day and will help us in making operability better across the country.”

Adebayo believes that the time has come for the main operators to embrace OTT services. “We cannot run away from it, we can’t wish it away, we can’t work it away. It is here with us to stay. We must begin to find the best ways to make OTT blend and complement the services we offer with a view to offering better revenue for all players,” he said.

– Apr. 12, 2019 @ 17:35 GMT |

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