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Stakeholders seek market segmentation for telecom growth

Stakeholders seek market segmentation for telecom growth

Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), in December last year announced that the country has achieved the set target of 30 per cent broadband penetration, this telecommunications stakeholders argued was achieved through mobile broadband with very small fixed broadband contributions as such could not guarantee development.

They said that the structure of telecommunications market as it is presently will not produce the expected growth and development of the economy and therefore urged NCC to segment the market going forward.

Oladipo Raji, president/CEO, InfraFocus Technologies, told Nigeria CommunicationsWeek that the structure of the market presently allows mobile operators the license of providing mobile and fixed data services and they choose to provide only mobile data that is cheap for them, to the detriment of fixed data services since there is no infrastructure to deliver fixed data.

“There is need for the market to be segmented in a way that mobile data providers are allowed to provide only mobile data and fixed data providers are allowed to provide only fixed data.

More so, bandwidth providers that brought undersea cable to the country’s shores are today marketing bandwidth at wholesale and retail segment. This system cannot bring growth and development to the sector.

“Mobile data is cheap and limited in terms of what one can do with it; fixed data supports a lot of applications such as Pay TV among others. The only way forward is to segment the market and focus on infrastructure build out that will take services to rural areas,” he added.

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Reacting Engr. Olusola Teniola, president, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) said: “NCC stated that we had achieved 30.9% broadband penetration using mobile broadband subscription numbers which includes multiple SIM users and machine-2-machine (m2m) connections.

“So, the next step is to now ensure that unique subscribers denoting individual users are captured going forward to reflect the true picture of our broadband landscape as the National Broadband Plan of 2013 depicted, where fixed line broadband, extensive fiber roll-out and last mile access is predominately via 3G & 4G at 80% and 50% population coverage respectively.

“ATCON will work with NCC to ensure that infraco licensees roll-out the fiber under their terms of reference which should fill the gap identified by NCC as 120,000 km of fiber still required on the back of 70-80K towers to support the increase in 4G Base Station installations, which is forecast to be 12K by the end of this year and in preparation of 5G in the coming years ahead. If we are able to achieve all this and a bit more then there is every possibility that we can attain more than 70% ‘true’ broadband population penetration within the next 2-3 years.”

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