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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

GSM operators advised to embrace capital market

Telecommunications companies in the country, and precisely the Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) operators have been advised to embrace the capital market.

The Executive Vice Chairman, Teledom Group, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem gave this advice in a chat at the weekend.

This, he said, would enable Nigerians to truly be part owners in these companies and would go a long way in preserving the business especially the telecom infrastructure.

Speaking in Lagos, Dr. Ekuwem, who also is the president, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), urged the operators to localise their presence by going to the capital market and getting quoted as a public limited companies (Plc).

“The GSM operators should Nigerianise their operations by going to the capital market,” he urged.

He argued that with the level of in-road so far made by the country, there is no gain saying that telcos and GSM operators are not doing well.

This is coming as GSM companies in the country, have been described as the most capitalised in the nation’s economy as of date.

The Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, gave this insight at the just concluded second edition of the Nigerian international GSM conference and exhibition held at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.

Dr. Ndukwe who was represented at the occasion by the Executive Commissioner in-charge of Licensing and Consumers Affairs at Commission, Mr. Stephen Bello, said that apart from GSM companies in the country being the most capitalised, they are next to oil in terms of remunerations.“GSM operators are the first in remuneration and have contributed to the growth of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the nation,” he declared.

He also said that Nigeria as a nation, must build upon the successes achieved in the last eight years of democratic dispensation, especially in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector in the past six years of evolution.

This, he said, would be if the operators ensured that consumers remained the key to their business successes, thereby improving on their service provision, most especially the quality of services (QoS).

According to him, this is a key challenge to the operators presently because subscribers are very much keen on mobility solutions and 24-hour access.

Equally, Dr. Ndukwe said that the taste of Nigerian telecom subscribers have changed, noting that they are now looking out for telcos that would provide them with uninterrupted voice and data alongside other Value Added Services (VAS). While assuring investors into the country of effective distribution of spectrum and usage, NCC said that it would ensure that customers are migrated into various facets of technologies without loosing sight of the impact to the industry and the economy. He pointed out that before now, the cost of handsets were on the high side but is gradually coming down, to affordable rates.

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