Steven Evans, chief executive officer of Etisalat Nigeria, said although telecom companies operating in the country compete with one another in delivering quality service to subscribers, the issue of telecom infrastructure sharing should be encouraged among operators — especially by the big players — in order to make communication accessible to rural dwellers.
Evans said telecom infrastructure sharing which mostly involves towers and cell sites, is widely practiced in some countries, especially where there are dominant players, and should be adopted by mobile operators in Nigeria.
He however noted that Etisalat has earmarked USD2billion for expansion and infrastructure deployment that would make the telecom company more accessible around the country, including the rural areas.
The issue of infrastructure sharing has been of concern in the telecom industry. At a stakeholders’ forum the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) stressed that operators should share infrastructure.
According to Fazal Hussain, managing director and chief executive officer of Helios Towers, telecom experts in co-location and infrastructure sharing, operators need N37,500,000 million naira to build a telecom tower, and called for network providers to engage in sharing of infrastructure in order to grow the sector.
The Nigerian Communications Commission pointed out that the smaller operators will benefit from this initiative as it would save cost of operation and quicken expansion in terms of network coverage.
Evans explained that if properly tailored, infrastructure sharing will benefit operators as funds used for building cell sites and towers would be channelled towards expansion and rendering quality services to subscribers.
CHRIS UBA in Lagos, Nigeria