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Airtel Nigeria appeals for infrastructure protection

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Rajan Swaroop, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer for Airtel Nigeria and Inusa Bello, Chief Sales Officer for Airtel Nigeria

Telecommunications service provider Airtel Networks Nigeria has appealed to the Federal Government through the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to “include telecommunications equipment in the list of national infrastructure protected by law” in order to safeguard investments and ensure quality service to subscribers.

Airtel Nigeria CEO and Managing Director Rajan Swaroop made the request on 30 June 2011 during an interactive forum and dinner with senior media executives – marking Airtel Nigeria’s one year business operations celebration.

Swaroop says Nigeria should make an effort to nationally secure telecommunications infrastructure for the benefit of all stakeholders to prevent persistent damage to fibre optic cables.

“Various parties including those working on roads do extensive damage to telecom infrastructure daily. These fibre cuts affect the network and it takes a while to discover where the damage happened. Therefore, we need as a country to take a stand on protecting this infrastructure as a national priority,” says Swaroop.

Swaroop further revealed that the company had increased its investment profile in Nigeria from an initial US$600m to over US$1billion in order to meet the challenges and opportunities of the Nigerian market in the first 18 months of its operations.

“Challenges are being discovered as we trail the path”, says Swaroop.

“As we stated on arrival, Nigeria is the biggest market in Africa, which in turn is the only telecommunications market region that is still grossly underserved. We have made significant investment and are still making as we seek to strengthen the network we inherited, make it more robust and expand coverage especially to the rural communities”.

Nigeria Job Creation

According to Swaroop, Airtel is committed to creating jobs and employment opportunities in Nigeria. It has therefore retained its call centre operations in the country even as the technology exists to run the service from locations with lower costs of doing business.

“In the past nine months, we have recruited additional 1300 Call Centre Agents bringing the total capacity to 2100 through our partners, Spanco and Tech Mahindra. As we roll out new call centres, more young graduates will be given employment as we promised Regarding data infrastructure and service, Swaroop says Airtel would excite the market again with its offerings.

Swaroop affirmed that while the four submarine cable systems entering Nigeria have the capacity to meet the needs of Nigerians, “watch out for the next 12 months and you will see some exciting stuff coming out of Airtel”.

Issued on behalf of Airtel Nigeria

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