• Operator to invest $1.6bn in Nigeria over three years
Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), have been directed to ensure telephony services in Nigeria improve as fast as possible. The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ibrahim Ali Pantami, who directed this, said this is necessary to satisfy the teeming telephone subscribers in the country.
Pantami gave this charge to the MTN Board led by the Group Chairman, Mabisi Jonas, when they paid a courtesy visit to his office in Abuja, on Tuesday.The Guardian checks showed that the MNOs as at December 2019 had connected 269 million telephone lines with 184 million being active.
The telcos in 2019 earned about N2.78 trillion from airtime sales, despite poor quality of service.As such, the Minister pointed out that Federal Government is committed to providing conducive and enabling environment for all mobile telecommunications operating in Nigeria to do their business without any hindrance in any part of the country, but that services must improve.He said: “I am happy that you also appreciated our modest efforts in addressing most of the challenges being faced by mobile telecommunications in Nigeria. I believe every country has its own peculiar challenges.
“We have achieved a lot in addressing most of the challenges; issues of vandalism, Right of Way (RoW), and several others,” he stressed.The Minister added, “we are working on strengthening the policy to ensure that telecommunications infrastructure are well-protected in the country, and the President has given directives to security agencies that they should provide security to critical telecommunications infrastructure in their different locations in the country.”
Pantami expressed gratitude to the Board, and noted that MTN has the largest market in Nigeria and globally. He however expressed concerned at the untapped market, and enjoined the telco to exploit the market opportunities in the country legitimately.
On the proposed MTN investment in Nigeria, the Minister said: “I am glad to hear that you have a budget of $1.6 billion you plan to invest in Nigeria in the next three years. Please, try to get your priorities right. Look at the areas that are underserved and invest, and the earlier you realised that, the better for you.”
Earlier, the MTN Group President/CEO, Rob Shuter, expatiating on the investment, said aside the $1.6 billion, Nigerian investors are also reaping good value from their shares in MTN, which he said are growing rapidly.Also on the team is the MTN Nigeria Chairman, Dr. Ernest Ndukwe; MTN Nigeria CEO, Ferdinand Moolman; and Chief Corporate Services Officer, Anas Galadima.