The Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), has rated Nigeria’s telecoms services among the best in comparable jurisdictions, despite the myriad of challenges members face.
ALTON boasted of members maintaining stable charges in spite of the extremely high cost of providing services in Nigeria.The body, in response to a media report , which claimed that operators have become slothful and cheats, said, although the industry was liberalised in 2001, many global players shunned the opportunity because of dearth of supporting infrastructure, those, which eventually took up the licences, paid as high as $285 million for each on the assurance that the fees would be used to build and/or improve supporting infrastructure, particularly power and transmission networks, but nothing concrete had been done since then.
“The narrative has recorded not much change, 18 years after as operators are still left to self-provide power, transmission, security and other supporting infrastructure which are taken for granted in other jurisdictions,” it stated.
ALTON said the Right of Way (RoW), multiple taxes, vandalism of infrastructure, accessibility issues and shutting down of telecom infrastructure are rampant in Nigeria.
“Our members daily do battle the state and local government agencies, who aggressively harass them to pay both legitimate and illegitimate taxes and levies that run to millions of naira in some cases. They daily contend with high costs of diesel, frequent theft of equipment, without increasing tariffs. It is on record that the cost of building one Base Transceiver Station (BTS) site in Nigeria will build three similar structures in Ghana,” the association added.
The association stressed that subscribers pay far less tariffs per minute than they paid five years ago, and data charges have continued to fall over the years due to the easy access to relevant telecoms services.
Noting that there is still service quality and ethical concerns in telecoms industry, ALTON said it is working with the regulator and other stakeholders to tackle these concerns in the best interests of subscribers.ALTON also called on the media support in its efforts to drive awareness at the federal, state and local level to protect telecoms infrastructure in the same way as power, security and other infrastructure are protected.