The Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON),] has said that national roaming is only achievable if the country attains about 95per cent nationwide coverage.
Hence, the need for the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to provide more incentives to ensure mobile telephony users in the country enjoy seamless network services in all parts of the country.
It would be recalled that NCC in a report two years ago identified over 200 communities across the six geo political zones in the country with access gap to ICT services.
ATCON’s position however, corroborates urgent need to ensure the spread of telecommunications services to those areas so as to make the proposed national roaming effective.
Mr. Olusola Teniola, ATCON President, said “There was a stakeholders’ forum last year where the issue was deliberated on extensively. National Roaming assumes that 95% geographical coverage, because in its simplicity form, you are making a call and suddenly the network goes down, so, the operator, under the national roaming, will be allowed to patch that call to go on another cell which belongs to another operator.
He however, advised the Federal Government to work out measures with both the States and Local Government on how best to support telecom operators to deploy infrastructure for improved quality of service.
According to him, it is common knowledge that the recent placement of IT/telecoms equipment among the forty-one restricted items from accessing foreign exchange at CBN rate, is stifling investment and development in the sector.
He said, “That requires investment and invariably, forex. If you are not allowing that happen, what then are we going to share. There is maximum capacity we need to increase (infrastructure) sharing. Ensuring the enabling environment, allowing operators to import equipment will help address some of the issues in the industry at the moment.
“It makes economic sense to share (co-location). In some quarters, there are questions as why telcos are not expanding as should, but our argument has been that we need some balance from the Government to make this happen”.
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