Telcos invest $250m annually, need easier Right of Way—Airtel boss
by ODINAKA ANUDU
October 17, 2017 | 1:55 am| | | Start Conversation
Segun Ogunsanya, chief executive of Airtel Nigeria, has disclosed that each telecoms firm in Nigeria invests about $150 million each year and another $100 million if it is changing technology.
Ogunsanya, who said this at the breakfast meeting of the Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) held in Lagos, stressed the need for governments at all levels to see the Right of Way (RoW) as a major means of boosting the economy and financial inclusion rather than a route to generating revenue.
“There is an intense competition in the industry and that is affecting revenue. We need to get the pricing right in the long term. If you don’t get money from consumers, you get it from banks. That’s why some players have exposure to the banks,” he stated.
“We have a problem with multiple taxation. We pay multiple times for the same installation and most times we pay through consultants. We also have the challenge of power,” he said.
The Airtel boss suggested that dots should be dug during road construction to enable telcos to lay fibres underground as it is done in other countries, saying that investment in the industry is huge, given that an operator must pump in up to $285 million for 2G and $150 million for 3G.
He stated that he foresees consolidation in the future as there are too many players already in the space.
“I think a market of this size shouldn’t have more than three players. In India some years ago, there were 11 players, but now they have three. We need to make it worthwhile for operators to set up in rural areas. It takes $70,000 to put up a tower and then you need security. Those in rural communities need to be included in the process,” he admonished.
Olusola Teniola, national president of the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), said there is a huge concentration of fibres in posh areas in some states, urging governments at all levels to change the mind-set of seeing RoW as a revenue generator.
Ayotunde Coker, MD, Rack Centre, said it is important to take cloud technology seriously as it is disrupting economies, urging small businesses to adopt cloud technology to make their operations effective.
Akinola Olawore, president of the Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce (NBCC), said the chamber would advocate making fibres a national security.
Tony Ojobo, director of public affairs, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), said there is a need for all the states to recognise the important role ICT plays and remove all the bottlenecks to the deployment of infrastructure. Ojobo said there was a time all the governors in the country were brought together with a view to having a one-stop shop for RoW, stating that if they can sign an MoU to this effect, some problems in the industry will be solved.
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