Globacom Nigeria still longs for NITEL

mike adenuga_1.jpgGlobacom Nigeria, the second national carrier, continues its bidding for the Nigerian Telecommunication Limited (NITEL), despite being banned by the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), reports the Nigerian online business publication Next.

Globacom is supported in its decision to overtake NITEL by Dave Salako, chairman House of Representatives Committee on Communications, who recently announced the launch of Globacom’s landline telephony service.

The company is interested in acquiring NITEL’s assets even after the enforcing of the ban, mainly due to NITEL’s large infrastructure on fixed telephony. Earlier last week, BPE stated that “Globacom is disqualified from purchasing a bundled NITEL as it would leave Globacom with two second national operating licences and would hence, be anti-competition.”

Telecoms officials and experts fear that Globacom’s plans are attracting monopoly policies. “We, in the industry would not support it. It is anti-competition, anti-trust; it is not good for the nation. It is not that we are against Globacom but it is not good for the sector for one company to be an almighty service provider,” said Emmanuel Ekuwem, the president of Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria (ATCON). Ekuwem stresses that competition is good for Nigeria, as it drives reduction in tariffs and more value added service for customers.

According to Globacom’s Chief Operating Officer, Mohamed Jameel, the company’s goal is to enable broad access in the country, which is far better than GSM technology. NITEL was the only operator offering landline services before GSM’s interception in 2001, until ownership disputes started in 2002. The new Globacom’s fixed line is aimed at innovating the telecom sector and re-establish fixed telephony after NITEL’s shutdown.

Globacom is currently working towards licensing its telecommunication services, apart from GSM network, hoping to run its fixed line at full speed, with a little help from NITEL’s infrastructure, if the later gives the green light.