David Venn appeals for effective leadership in Nigeria’s IT and Telecoms sector
Lagos, Nigeria:In accordance with the Nigerian Broadband Plan 2013-2018’s quest on enabling, stimulating demand and increasing true broadband networks across the country, Spectranet 4G Ltd. CEO revealed at the recent Businessday Broadband Summit 2017 that the current regulatory conditions and operator bias or anticompetitive behaviors in the Industry are major factors killing off competition and calls for SANITY in the sector.
In a chat with Supercomafrica CEO Engr. Gbolahan Isama, he clarifies and outlines some strategies for sustainable growth, to ensure Nigeria doesn’t lose all recent gains and innovations worth over $65bn dollars and an eminent shutdown of the Internet space here.
The CEO of Spectranet 4G Nigeria Limited, Mr. David Venn at the recent broadband symposium held at the Wheatbaker hotel, Ikoyi has called on government, regulators and lawmakers responsible for developing Nigeria’s ICT institutions “to do their jobs”, working toward enabling stimulating demand and increasing true broadband penetration for economic growth by “stamping-out anti-competitive practices and giving ROW powers to infracos that will allow them quickly rollout the national broadband networks, which will be a huge asset for Nigeria’s nascent Internet user base.
David Venn who made this assertions recently clarified his strategic position on the issue in an exclusive chat with Supercomafrica CEO, Engr. Gbolahan Isama, that “it will be a huge asset if the authorities gave operators ROW powers, which enables licensed infracos who have been idle for 2 months begin to quickly build-out networks; but it should not be run by government but by an operator, at harms length.”
David a former Vodacom executive x-rayed the current trends in Nigeria’s data/voice market, explained that with states usurping money from infracos even before digging and coupled with anticompetitive behaviors, there could be a total shutdown and wipeout of recent innovations and gains worth $70bn from the sector.
With this development the minister, NASS and NCC need to step-in and stamp-out these canker worms that will destroy all recent gains in the sector. According to David, the biggest hurt will be constant incessant network congestion; in the past 6 month quality of service QoS has become worse, almost all mobile voice and mobile data operators in Nigeria are experiencing it because they are carrying much more data and then cross subsidizing, making money on voice but selling data below cost, cheap.
“We ISP’s cannot compete, the effect kills competition, if it continues will put us out of business, if you want a national broadband network quickly you need to give them POWER’s and that will be a huge asset.” David further explained that Nigeria Communications Commission NCC’s Year of the Telecoms Consumer presents ample opportunities for telecoms consumers to demand better quality of service from their mobile operator, as about 80% of the 100 million Internet traffic from the country will be provisioned from 3G GSM networks.
Spectranet CEO said that, telecoms sector having met its voice communication needs should now be working toward building data networks, that “voice is going to be free”. David explained further that “bundles are for data nowadays with unlimited voice, the telephone companies in the country they are not ready for it, and because all their revenue comes from voice; if everyone switch to data their revenue drops 100%.”
To ensure that the sector achieves its quest to stimulate adoption and provide affordable Internet, Mr. Venn outlined some strategies for growth for the sector. He stated that consumers must be more informed and sensitized with network supply metrics; and NCC should provide government-assisted broadband extension funds to ensure capacity growth to new cities, we are in a recession there is no dollars to buy new networks for broadband expansion and ISP’s can’t get investors at price in the market, doesn’t make sense when the retail cost (tariff) is below the cost of providing; but people blame it on the economy, Spectranet CEO stated.
“At Spectranet our consumer focus is to make them (consumers) be more informed by measuring our network performance and making its supply metric available”, David stated that Spectranet 4G has made extensive plans to drive performance management across its locations and appealed to government, lawmakers and regulators to step-in and stamp-out artificial subsidizing, and cross subsidizing.
“If we survive this difficult period of the economy we will come out stronger, our survival hinges on anticompetitive issues resolved; if the major operators take advantage of the situation when ISP’s are vulnerable, it will kill-off the last part of the industry. So regulators can you bring SANITY into the industry, over $65bn dollars have been invested that will be wiped-out.”
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