Telecommunications companies have expressed their willingness to operate a shared facility proposed by the Federal Government. The government had initiated the idea in order to expand telecommunication services in rural areas across Nigeria.
Gbenga Adebayo, the Chairman, Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) – an umbrella body of the service providers – said the facility sharing arrangement is an initiative that favours the network operators and assists in expanding their reach among communities and increase access to network services.
The facility sharing arrangement is an initiative that enables telecommunication companies to operate in rural areas without having to build their physical base. The building will be done by the Federal Government while the network providers will only have to rent the property.
Essence of the shared facility: This means the Federal Government will provide some critical telecoms infrastructure to lure the telcos into rural areas they are unwilling to situate their base. So, the network operators will have no need to invest heavy capital apart from rent expenses in the areas.
Also, the level of financial risk the network operators will be exposed to will be minimal considering the property or infrastructure wasn’t erected with their capital. Meanwhile, it was reported that the facility sharing arrangement would also address the problem of vandalism of telecommunications infrastructure across the country.
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According to Adebayo, “It (facility sharing arrangement) is a current practice all over the world; it is not alien actually. If it is proposed by government, the telcos can buy into it. It is not a problem. It is a welcome development; it will improve access,” he said in a Punch report.
What you need to know: While the initiative is laudable and considered as a welcome development, both the Federal Government and the telecommunications companies still have to agree on an arrangement that favours all parties before the facility sharing is implemented.