ATCON laments death of small telecoms firms
DESPITE the robustness of Nigeria’s telecommunications sector, stakeholders have raised alarm about the increasing collapse of small and medium scale firms in the sector.
To curb this challenge, the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria, (ATCON), has called for a strong policy framework to protect the enterprises.
To this end, the association is planning a strategy session to articulate all the threats and challenges facing the industry with a view to presenting a well-articulated document to the government towards a favourable policy.
The Association, which draws members from telecoms operating companies, Internet Service Providers (ISPs), equipment vendors, infrastructure services providers, among others, had at its 2015 yearly general meeting in Lagos, lamented the situation where the big operators in the country who offer wholesale services are also competing with the small and medium operators at the retail level.
For instance, some of the cable companies that sell bandwidths to ISPs are also selling megabytes of data to consumers and even at prices, which the retailers cannot compete with. Reacting to the members’ complaint at the meeting, the ATCON President, Lanre Ajayi said the Association would have to rise to the occasion and the only way to address those challenges was to push for a strong policy and stronger regulation for the industry.
Ajayi, an engineer said the small and medium companies are the ones the ones who provide more jobs and add more value to the economy, hence, the government must ensure their protection.
Members of the association also expressed misgivings about unfair advantages given to some foreign companies, which jeopardise chances of survival for local enterprises, while calling for a level playing field for local and foreign companies in the industry.
According to the association, while they are not against foreign players coming to the industry, the government must put in place policies that their operations do not strangulate indigenous, particularly smaller, operators.