Reduce operating cost via infrastructure sharing, not tariff hike, NCC boss advises telcos

Friday Ajagunna
Friday Ajagunna
NCC EVC, Aminu Maida

The Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Aminu Maida, said telecommunications operators can reduce their operating costs through infrastructure sharing.

Only last week, operators under the Association of Licensed Telecom Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) and the Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria (ATCON, asked for a tariff increase after 11 years.

ALTON and ATCON accused the government of frustrating efforts to review prices despite the rising cost of operations.

But during the 2nd edition of the West African Telecoms Infrastructure Summit and Exhibition on Friday in Lagos, Maida, said operators in the telecommunications sector could reduce their costs and enhance service delivery through partnerships.

Maida, who was represented by Head of Next Generation Technology and Standards at the NCC, Victor Adoga, said the short-term remedy is public-private partnerships, infrastructure funds, and innovative financing models like Infrastructure as a Service.

According to him, “Today, we boast of over 219 million mobile subscribers and a burgeoning tech-savvy population eager to harness digital technologies.

“However, while our growth has been remarkable, it has not been without its challenges. Issues such as uneven service distribution, infrastructural deficits, and regulatory uncertainties have occasionally hindered our progress.

“Yet, each challenge also presented a unique opportunity for growth and innovation.”

The NCC boss also advised the operators to embrace Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning to optimize network management, predict maintenance needs, and enhance customer service through automation, and advanced analytics is also necessary.

“Another strategy is developing smart infrastructure, because as cities become smarter, telecom infrastructure must evolve to support an array of smart city applications, from traffic management systems to public safety solutions,” said the EVC.

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