By Emma Elebeke

President of the Association of Telecom Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Titi Omo-Ettu, has blamed the lost of about 65 telecommunication companies by Nigeria to the unfriendly business environment in the country.

He also condemned the manner at which Nigerian government and some international bodies use the increasing subscribers’ base in the country, currently in excess of 90 million mobile subscribers as a measure to judge the growth of the sector.

Engr. Omo-Ettu who was quoting a recent report said that about 65 local telecom companies have closed down in the past few years. While calling for caution, he advocates for an urgent need for local content initiatives that will boost the survival strategies of mostly local players in the industry.

He wondered that the orientation of people regarding the Information Communication Technology (ICT) is that there is huge money in the industry due to the increasing number of subscribers. “Judging by this is grossly misleading and this poses serious danger to the growth of the economy.

“We need to change that orientation and move the emphasis from the number of mobile lines to the number of users. Telephone should be seen as empowerment and not as prestige,” said the ATCON President.

The ATCON president then called for serious concerted efforts between government and players in the industry that will help in mitigating possible future challenges, stressing that if this is not done, it may hinder further possible investments to the sector.

Already, about 21 Internet Service Providers were said to be operating illegally in the country due to expired licences.

The licences granted to them in 2005 were only valid for five years, and many of them became invalid between December 2010 and April 2011. The ISPs currently find it hard to renew their licences.” he pointed out.

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