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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

MTN decries cost of doing business in Nigeria

MTN Nigeria has decried the cost of doing business in Nigeria, citing the likes of multiple regulations and taxations as well as environmental bottlenecks.

Speaking in Lagos, at a one-day conference on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and Nigerian Environment as well as Taxation, the Regulatory Affairs Manager, MTN Nigeria, Mr. Quasim Odunmbaku, narrated how painful it is for the mobile operators to deliver required quality of service (QoS).

According to him, multiple regulation and taxation are adding to a number of other environmental hiccups, which are alien in other operating climes in telecom service delivery.

He also said that operators are putting in place a number of initiatives to surmount the challenges in their unrelenting efforts to meet subscribers’ expectations.

In his presentation at the occasion, entitled ‘ICT and the Nigerian Environment: Key Service Dependencies and MTN’s Role in Achieving Sustainable Environmental Practices’ and organized by AIT Infotech Network, eWorld Magazine and IT. EgdeNews.Com, Odunmbaku said, Nigerian operators were yet to build the critical mass of telephony towers and masts sufficient to meet Nigeria’s communications needs.

As said by him, in United Kingdom, with a smaller land mass and population of 52,500 base stations as at end of last year, compared to Nigeria, which has a mean15,000 serving a population of 150 million and a teledensity of about 50 per cent.

MTN, he said has largely overcome QoS challenges experienced in the fourth quarter of 2007 through the implementation of robust network improvement measures, which included the investment of about N85 billion to upgrade the network in 2007 alone.

Equally, he said that by establishing the largest private transmission network in Africa, leading to creation of ICT super highway backbone for use by the entire ICT Sector.

MTN also took an active part in the joint industry-NCC Quality of Service Working Group, which provided an industry-led framework for identifying QoS-impacting issues and address them, noting that much of the QoS challenges now being experienced arise from environmental rather than operational factors, such as inadequate supply of power from the national grid.

Further, MTN said it has spent over N12 billion to acquire generators to provide power for it’s over 4,798 sites nationwide and expend N500 million monthly on diesel and generating set maintenance for power generation.

Recent degradation in national grid power supply, he said, has increased pressure on generators, increased maintenance cost and outstripped local market capacity for supply of generators to operators.

“There has been unprecedented theft of whole generators, parts and diesel, indiscriminate vandalisation of fibre optic cable and other network infrastructure; cause of major network outages in recent times,” he said.

The company noted that an average of 50 sites is inaccessible per day on account of community issues making it difficult to address network maintenance needs.

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