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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Telcos may spoil for war with FCTA over demolition

Telecommunications companies in the country may be spoiling for war with the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA).

This follows the demolition at the weekend of Base Transceiver Station (BTS) sites of telecom companies located in the FCT for alleged failure to pay what the administration was demanding as tax, which is in the neighbourhood of N3 million per annum.

BTS is equipment facilitating wireless communications between mobile stations, such as mobile phones or handsets and a given network. The network could be that of any of the wireless communication technologies like the Global System for Mobile communications (GSM), Code

Division Multiple Access (CDMA), Wireless in Local Loop (WLL) to name a few; which contains the equipment for transmitting and receiving of radio signals (transceivers), antennas, and equipment for encrypting and decrypting communications with the Base Station Controller (BSC).

ITRealms Online gathered that penultimate Friday, FCTA management commenced demolition of BTS sites of telcos, which was in defiant to an earlier directive by the federal government that all matters concerning communications should be the sole reserve of the Communications Ministry (MoC) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

Sources close to telcos in Abuja, especially the Global System for Moble communication (GSM) operators confirmed this to our correspondent.

“The FCTA on Friday, December 8, 2006 began the demolition of BTS sites of our member companies, in defiant to an earlier directive by the FGN that such matters concerning communications should be the exclusive reserve of the Ministry of Communications and the NCC,” our source declared.

It was also gathered that FCTA’s action was an attempt to coerce telecommunications companies to members pay what our source described as “heavy taxes for operating in the FCT.”

This, it was gathered was alleged an attempt to force telcos to embrace collocation arrangement with some private companies that are independent of telcos, which our sources defined as “arrangement that is commercially unviable and technologically unfeasible.”

Reacting to the reports, chairman of Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) and General Manager of VGC Communications Limited, Mr. Gbenga Adebayo, condemned the demolition, stating that the implication may have a far reaching effect on telecommunications services in and outside the FCT environs.

Speaking via the Publicity Secretary, Mr. Damian Udeh, ALTON chairman urged the government to put a stop to the FCTA demolition exercise.

He emphasized that the destruction may negatively influence on growth of the sector country-wide and Abuja precisely.

“The kind of gangsterism being exhibited in FCTA has not manifested in Lagos, saying they should be mindful of the security impact to the federal capital, being the seat of power,” he said.

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