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Monday, December 27, 2010

Nigeria still a business haven – ATCON

President of the Association of Telecom Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Mr. Titi Omo-Ettu has said that Nigeria is a business haven, just as an estimated120 million Nigerians may still not have phones as at December 2010.

This is coming as ATCON has called for the replacement of the current registration of Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) Cards in the country with Telephone Subscriber Registration (TSR).

Omo-Ettu who was the special speaker at the at the Distinguished Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ Annual Lecture (DEEEAL) 2010 organised by a division of the Nigerian Society of Engineers in Lagos, said that Nigeria is still a business haven.

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Indicators, available to him as at the time of speaking, he said, hold promise for investment in the country.

He said that there is still very a huge demand for voice communications, buttressing his point by project that an estimated 120m inhabitants may not still have phones, which makes the saturation claim in some quarters as fallacy.

He expected that the next level of engagement for improving quality of service in the country would be for the independent professional regulator, which was guaranteed in the 2003 National Communications Act, which is currently under review; would be to speedily punish infringements to assert its position.

Omo-Ettu said they are looking forward to an emerging ICT industry with the kind of pressures being mounting by civil societies, professional groups and trade associations.

According to him, this assertion has two sides to it, namely the perception and reality, either of which could be misrepresented.

On the perception, he said that Nigeria telephone subscriber base has achieved about 78 million, which is literally, 78 million active telephone lines or 78m SIM cards.

He noted that in reality, this entails just 78m SIM cards issued by various telecom network operators.

“The actual number of users is yet to be determined,” he said, and called for the use of Telephone Subscriber Registration to replace the on-going SIM card registration.

He also said that the Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) has declined because of deterioration of poor Quality of Service (QoS), despite the fact that some of the telecom network operators have come out to blame it all on turn of events on the global ‘economic downturn’.

Omo-Ettu explained that quality of service is usually the trend in growing ARPU in every market worldwide.

Telephone subscription, he said, slowed down in 2009, noting that though the perception was hinged on economic downturn and poor quality of service, the reality was diminishing interest of subscribers in offered telephone service, stressing that it may have underscored the fact that the euphoria was over with attendant complaint by telecom consumers that the cost is high vis-à-vis income.

He insisted that there is no dominant operator yet in the telecommunications sector, even though the perception has been that operator ‘A’ is dominating by reason of its expressed subscriber base, which he noted was not the only criterion for emerging a dominant player in any given market, except if it’s measuring the likes of mobile operators against other platforms like the fixed and VSAT.

Omo-Ettu said that while the NITEL monopoly officially ended in December 2010, its submarine fibre cable monopoly for international traffic came to a close in 2009, especially with the landing of two privately owned submarine cables; namely the Glo 1 and MainOne respectively.

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