The Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) weekend warned that vandalism and forex exchange difficulties may sabotage the telecoms sector and undermine optimal service delivery to millions of subscribers in the country.
The wake-up call comes from Mr Olusola Teniola, President of ATCON, who says that “vandalism, theft and sabotage of our base stations’ equipment, and base stations being shut down by different agencies demanding one tax after another do not help operators.”
The telecoms group holds government agencies responsible for intermittent interruptions on network, vandalism of base stations, destruction of optic fibre, high forex and shutting of base stations.
“We have incidents of optic fibre destruction, which impacts on traffic to be carried to and from one location or city to another”, the ATCON President says.
There are situations in the industry whereby the equipment to bring into the country to increase capacity is either delayed by government, or at the port as operators are not given the right payment on time, Teniola says.
He says that the difficulty to sustain investment in increasing network coverage and capacity and forex remain high and the telecoms equipment prices have not reduced.
”There is need for security operatives to ensure that telecommunications equipment which, is a critical national infrastructure is protected,” the ATCON President says.
The Federal Government can help to ease burden on service providers by expediting action on issuance of relevant right-of-way permits for operators, ATCON says.
“If all the issues affecting operators are resolved, quality of service will improve,” according to Teniola.
The ATCON President says that interruption during festive periods result from heavy traffic associated with such periods and some operators still used equipment bought 10 years ago, while asking government to encourage operators to ease investment in telecom equipment.
“During festive period it seems that intermittent interruption is more because most of the calls are originating from Lagos to people that are living in the villages, and the network capacity is not strong.There has not been any form of investment in equipment that will carter for additional traffic on the network since the past 10 years, and this is not good for the industry.
“We need government to encourage us to bring in the needed equipment by investing in them and making forex available for operators,” Teniola says.