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Atcon Teniola 3

National roaming’ll spur massive investments in telecoms sector—-Teniola, ATCON boss

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More insights have been given on the multiplier effects of effective take off of national roaming in the nation’s telecoms sector.

Explaining more during the recent Annual general meeting (AGM) of the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), members in unison, averred that national roaming remains the best option to drive massive investments in remote areas of the country.

In their views, apart from broadband infrastructure that is growing slowly nationwide, national roaming has the capacity to push service access to poorly serviced localities because operators would not wish to be paying huge amount to their fellow operators whom their subscribers relied on their infrastructure to use their phones or data.

Explaining more ATCON President, Mr. Olusola Teniola, said “There was a stakeholders’ forum last year where the issue was deliberated on extensively. National Roaming assumes that 95% geographical coverage, because in its simplicity form, you are making a call and suddenly the network goes down, so, the operator, under the national roaming, will be allowed to patch that call to go on another cell which belongs to another operator”.

“Payments are later made to the operator whose infrastructure was used with or without the knowledge of the subscriber. To avoid such payments, networks will strive to build their BTS everywhere so as to reduce such capital transfer.

Teniola further added that telecoms are willing to invest more in infrastructure, but the government seems to be drawing investors back with policy inconsistency and over taxation in the sector.

He gave a critical example with the continued inclusion of IT/telecoms equipment within the 41 items restricted from accessing foreign exchange at CBN rate, saying “This has become a clog in the wheel of progress for the telecoms sector since the policy regime started”.

“Yes we are encouraging co-location but it requires forex to import equipment because we do not manufacture them here. There is maximum capacity we need to increase (infrastructure) sharing. Ensuring the enabling environment, allowing operators to import equipment will help address some of the issues in the industry at the moment.

“It makes economic sense to share (co-location). In some quarters, there are questions as why telecoms are not expanding as should, but our argument has been that we need some balance from the Government to make this happen,” ATCON boss averred.

Business Hilights recalls that international roaming is one of the key revenue earner for global telecoms because charges many a times are in foreign currencies and that is the reason why many Nigerians hardly make or pick calls when abroad on their phones because of the high charges.


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