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Not reviewing DPF may dampen investors’ confidence @ ITU —BH Report

A survey by Business Hilights Economic Research team (BHERT) relating to the massive build up by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), ahead of leading Nigerian delegation with the Minister to the fast approaching International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Telecom World 2017, in Korea has made some salient revelations.

Top in the findings include that “If Nigeria attends to raise international awareness on investment opportunities especially on data sector, it may backfire considering the current floorless status of the nation’s Data Price Floor (DPF)”.

Already, leading investors and players in the segment especially Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and most recently, a top GSM service provider, 9Mobile have all been decrying the anti-investment situation, saying leaving the data price without a cap is an easy way to kill competition as nobody is willing to invest more hence return on investment cannot be guaranteed after all.

In a recent interview with the managing director of Spectranet 4G LTE, Mr. David Venn, he said contrary to assuming issues of taxation and forex as major killers of the segment, current frustrating challenge in the market cannot be unconnected with a floorless data price.

He argued that when data price is not floored, Quality of Service (QoS) will continue to be an issue because companies will find it economically unviable to invest in network consolidation and upgrade because of fears of no return on investment.

Exactly similar impression was created by executives of 9Mobile when they paid a visit to the management of NCC.

According to 9Mobile managing director, one of the best things NCC can do for the industry now is to effectively review its stand on DPF so that more investment in data services will be encouraged in the industry.

Analysts who spoke to our correspondent traced the delay by the regulator in going ahead with the DPF review to the heat waves coming from the Senate when it made the failed effort some months ago or pressure from a tiny section of the GSM networks who are gaining from the floorlessness.

Already, a report by the NCC showed that more than 90 per cent of ISPs had not renewed their licenses in the last couple of years which analysts decoded to mean that they have all gone down due to harsh operating environment including issues of taxation, unhealthy competition and just recently, non review of DPF.

In a recent statement, the NCC had claimed that Nigeria is expected to leverage on the approaching ITU Telecom World 2017, to increase the current Foreign Direct Investment (FDIs), put at over 70 per cent in the telecommunications sector.

The regular noted that the participation of Nigeria at the conference scheduled for Busan, South Korea, from September 25 to 28, would to a larger extent connect the country to investors.

Though NCC was silent on the level investment that were uniquely attracted when Nigeria attended the event in last year, it said since 2001 when it issued Digital Mobile Licences (DML), Nigeria has witnessed multiplier effects in social and economic development.

The NCC’s Director of Public Affairs, Tony Ojobo averred in a statement that “Nigeria’s robust telecommunications regulatory environment, guarantee of Returns on Investment (ROI), and investors renewed confidence in the fast growing sector will form part of the country’s narrative at the ITU Telecom World 2017”.

Ojobo was of the belief that as Nigeria’s delegation berths in South Korea, the narrative will be endearing as the country beckons on more investors especially in broadband Internet at a time existing investors are calling for review of certain policies including DPF, tax issues and RoW.