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Dominance in telecoms is no threat to business – MTN insists

By on July 3, 2015

MTN Nigeria, the largest telecommunications network in Nigeria by subscriber number, has dispelled the fears in the telecoms industry that operational dominance is a threat to business growth and survivability.
Chief Executive Officer of MTN Nigeria, Mr. Mike Ikpoki, who expressed this view, told THISDAY in Lagos, that dominance of a particular operator, should not be perceived as threat to the growth of other operators, since dominance came to bear as a result of competition, which he said, is necessary for industry growth and development.
Ikpoki who was reacting to insinuations from some sections of the telecoms industry, that MTN is intimidating other operators with its large network size, accommodating over 61 million subscribers out of the 140 million subscribers from across the four GSM operators, said MTN had worked tirelessly in introducing innovations in the telecoms sector, which he said, have helped it, over the years, to grow so big in maintaining the largest subscriber network in the country. He said operators should not feel intimidated with its network size, since it would not take advantage of its size to stifle the growth of other operators.
MTN Nigeria had been accused of using its large network size in suppressing smaller operators in the areas of interconnectivity and interconnect rates, as well as collocation of telecoms facilities and revenue generation.
There are complaints that all the net profit in the telecoms industry, are currently concentrated around the dominant operator, which they said, is indicative of serious underlying issues with value distribution across the industry.
MTN has been accused of not opening its channels to smaller operators to terminate calls on the MTN network, which were generated from other network operators, thereby making it impossible for calls generated on other networks, to successfully terminate on the MTN network, which invariable means that the smaller operators will be experiencing network congestion for most calls generated from their networks, that were supposed to terminate on the MTN network.
Responding to the allegation, Ikpoki said: “MTN is a telecoms company, competing in the market like every other operator. MTN got its operational licence that allows it to do legitimate business in the country. So the issue of market dominance should not be used against MTN, because we all started on the same slate. We got our licence in 2001 like others, we have ran our business efficiently and have invested heavily in the business as we could, so the issue of market dominance should be seen as our sincere efforts to invest aggressively in the market.”
With all modesty, we are not even where we are supposed to be today, in terms of growth, because at some point in time, we folded our arms to watch the unfolding of the market realities and we are no longer doing that, but we are now investing heavily.

It is true that our investments are yielding results for us, but that should not be a reason for some operators to see us in a bad light, using the issue of market dominance against us.
We have invested over $15 billion in the business, since inception in 2001, and we are still investing, since telecoms business is all about investments. We have paid taxes of over N1 trillion to the Nigerian economy since inception in 2001 and we have created several direct and indirect jobs for Nigerians, since inception, Ikpoki said.
“We are in a competitive market and we will continue to compete in order to reduce cost of service offerings, in the best interest of our subscribers and the Nigerian economy,” Ikpoki added.
Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Eugene Juwah, had said dominance in telecoms business is not injurious to telecoms growth. He however said that sharp practices from a dominant operator, could stifle growth of smaller telecoms operators and that the Commission would not fold its hands and watch big operators intimidating small operators.