Stakeholders in the telecommunications industry has frowned at the over regulation of the industry as it portends a grave danger for the development of the sector.
Nigerian Pilot reports that the telecommunications sector of the Nigerian economy contributed N1.580 trillion to gross domestic product (GDP) in the second quarter of 2016, or 9.8 per cent, which represents an increase of 1.0 point relative to the previous quarter.
Speaking on the regulation of the industry in Lagos, The chairman, Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria, ALTON, Engr. Gbenga Adebayo, said that regulation in the name of revenue generation is a major hindrance to the satiability of the telecom industry and a threat the broadband penetration objections as well as the entire vision 202020 objectives of the Government.
He said that Multiple and/or unlawful levies, taxes and charges are increasingly imposed upon telecom operations by myriad government MDAs at all levels in a way to subtly regulate the industry.
Adebayo noted that the frequent enforcement actions of these MDAs to compel payment result in extensive disruption of telecoms operations, affecting customer experience.
According to him,”operators face major challenges in securing site and right of way approvals from state governments: Continuing community issues hinder development and maintenance of sites across the Country amongst other issues.
“Increasing incidence of recurrent fibre cuts on network affecting signaling and transmission links across the country. Indiscriminate vandalisation and sabotage of sites by some MDAs who often claim to regulate, collect levies and permits from operators but provide no further protection for such infrastructure.
“These interventions considerably increase the lead time to roll out, inflate costs of deploying infrastructure and depreciate network quality. The interference of the MDAs has created a wide infrastructural gap that leads to the poor quality of services being experience by subscribers.
“Accord telecom infrastructure as the protections of critical national socio-economic infrastructure and the requisite protection to the industry by ring fencing telecommunications from the influence of various MDAs.
Speaking further, he said that Base Stations are required to transmit and receive radio signals from mobile phones and other wireless devices. Without a Base Station in the subscriber’s vicinity, it would be impossible to make or receive calls and maintain the call as the subscriber moves or drives around.
“We do not have enough base station across the country so there is the need to continue to build more, we do not have enough hinterland fiber across the country there is the need to build more and overregulation can limit this growth; this explains in path while the cost of bandwidth between Lagos and London (over 600 miles away) is far cheaper than cost of bandwidth between Lagos and Ilorin kwara State which is less than 400 kilometers away.
“We therefore need to remove all bottlenecks in the way of securing right of way and permits amongst others in other to provide better access, achieve the desired national broadband objectives of 30% penetration by 2018 and provide affordable services accord the country.”
He therefore advocated the continuous debate on whether to regulate technology or service adding that stakeholders must eliminate and remove all barriers to telecom operations and development.
Also, commenting on the issue, The 1st vice President, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria, Engr. Anthony Nwosu, said that
the incessant over regulation of the Nigerian telecommunications sector may lead to the inability of players in that sector to roll out services promptly to meet the targets in the National Broadband Plan.
Nwosu noted that If over regulation of the industry is not checked, some of the service providers may be forced to close shop, and this would affect the sector contribution to the country’s GDP.
In his words: “Some telecoms service providers may be forced to relocate their services to neighbouring countries.
“Closure of companies or reduction in scope of activities may lead to job losses and worsen the unemployment situation in the country and diversion of investment meant for telecoms industry to other sectors.”
Speaking further, he said that incessant shut down of telecoms facilities by multiple regulatory have an adverse effect on the quality of services offered by operators in the industry.
“outages occasioned by these shut downs negatively impact quality of service indices such as reduced call completion rates, increased call drop rates, increased voice quality impairment, and transmission quality impairment. The overall implication of these is heightened consumer dissatisfaction with the quality of services provided by operators.”
Nwosu however urged the Nigerian communications commission to strengthen its relationships with each state of the federation and their relevant agencies to ensure a smooth operating environment for the delivery of telecoms services.
He therefore called for a greater collaboration of industry associations and stakeholders to ensure a conducive operating business environment for telecoms companies operating in Nigeria adding that increased enlightenment and awareness on the importance of telecommunications services to national growth and development.

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