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Experts call for sustained competition in telecoms sector

By on September 26, 2014

Some experts  in the Nigerian telecommunications industry have said the  release of number of subscribers on all the three telecoms operators’  networks  by the  Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is  a healthy development that will stimulate competition and should be sustained.
NCC, at the weekend, released the result of subscribers’ growth across telecoms operators’ networks for the second quarter of 2014, which showed a drop in subscribers  on the MTN and Airtel’s networks, and a rise in the  subscribers on the Globacom and Etisalat’s networks.
The first quarter result on subscriber number, which NCC released in March this year, showed a steady rise among MTN, Airtel and Etisalat subscribers, but a slight drop in Globacom subscribers.
That   had automatically placed MTN as the largest telecoms operator by subscriber number, with 57 million subscribers, followed by Airtel with 25 million subscribers, and Globacom with 23 million subscribers, while Etisalat became the fourth largest operator with 18 million subscribers.
But the second quarter, which ended in June this year, showed a sharp rise in Globacom subscribers base from 23 million  to 27 million in June, placing Globacom as the second largest telecoms operator in the country.
Etisalat, which is the fourth entrant into the Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM) market, also had an increase in subscriber number from 18 million  to 19 million in June this year, but retained its fourth position in the new ranking..
MTN, which  subscriber  base  dipped from 57 million in March this year to 56 million in June this year, however maintained its leadership position as the largest GSM operator in the country, while Airtel, whose subscriber number also dipped from 25.5 million in March  to 25.3 million in June,  dropped  in the ranking  from second largest operator position to third largest operator position.

Analysing the subscriber growth trend, experts said they were impressed by the first and second quarter results because they showed a highly competitive trend in the industry, which they described as healthy and good for the entire industry.

Chairman of the Association of Telecoms Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Lanre Ajayi, told THISDAY that the result was most welcomed because it showed there is competition in the telecoms industry, which subscribers stand to benefit from in terms of service rollout and service quality.
“One of the roles of NCC is to deepen competition among operators and this can be justified from the results already released by the NCC. But we need to increase the number of licensed GSM operators to further deepen the competition and to expand telecoms services to rural communities,” Ajayi said.

Chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Gbenga Adebayo told THISDAY that he was pleased with the results because they are true reflection of healthy competition in the industry.
“The fact that an operator does not see the particular position it is occupying as a right,  the operator will continue to strive in ensuring that it overtakes its competitors in the ranking order. The one on top of the ranking will do everything possible to maintain such position and this calls for more healthy competition that will eventually translates to better service quality offerings from the operators,” Adebayo said.
He commended the management of NCC for its regulatory role in the industry, and explained that its objectivity and transparency have kept telecoms operators on their toes.


[This Day]