The four Global System of Mobile telecommunications operators in the country – Airtel, Etisalat, Globacom and MTN – will spend a combined amount of N980.35bn to boost infrastructure and enhance the performance of their networks this year.
The investments are expected to upgrade the networks of the operators and help them address the poor quality of service prevalent in the industry in recent times.
Airtel Nigeria is investing $1.5bn(N235.5bn); Etisalat Nigeria, $500m (N78.5bn); Globacom, $1.25bn (N196.25bn); and MTN Nigeria, N470bn (about $3bn).
There are also strong indications that the operators are strengthening their networks to avoid cases of subscribers leaving them due to the commencement of the Mobile Number Portability scheme, which was recently introduced by the Nigerian Communications Commission.
Airtel recently said it had, in the last 30months, invested over $1.5bn to expand and deepen its network capacity and quality in the country.
The telecoms firm also confirmed that the move was in pursuit of world class Quality of Service for its network in Nigeria.
The Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Airtel Nigeria, Mr. Segun Ogunsanya, had said, “In the last 30months, Airtel has invested over $1.5bn to expand and deepen our network capacity and quality in Nigeria in pursuit of world class QoS.
“We were making significant investments in our network and customer service, which are critical success factors in MNP.”
Etisalat Nigeria also plans to raise $500min debt from local banks to expand its network this year, its Commercial Officer, Mr. Wael Ammar, said last month.
Ammar had said the investment would enable the mobile carrier, which is 40 per cent owned by its parent company, grow its market share to 17 per cent this year.
The company said it aimed to add four million subscribers to the existing 15 million this year.
“We are investing $500m this year to expand our network and services to Nigerian consumers,” Ammar said, adding that Etisalat aimed to increase its 3,000 cell sites by an undisclosed number.
Last month, Globacom entered into two separate deals with Huawei and ZTE worth $750m and $500m, respectively for network upgrade and expansion of its operation capacity.
Globacom’s Group Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Mohammed Jameel, explained that the network enhancement project was part of the plan to upgrade its facilities to the very latest technology in global telecommunications.
Jameel said every element of the network ranging from base transceiver stations, mobile switching centres and transmission infrastructure, among others, would witness total modernisation, which is expected to provide world-class services to its growing subscribers.
MTN Nigeria also recently secured loan facilities totalling N470bn from a consortium of local and international financial institutions to enable it to further expand, modernise and improve its network infrastructure.
The loan consists of $1.8bn in additional facilities and $1.2bn in restructuring of existing local facility.
The Chief Executive Officer, MTN, Mr. Brett Goschen, said the signing of the loan deal signified another strategic collaboration between the company and local and international financial institutions aimed at deepening telecommunications services in Nigeria.
Speaking to our correspondent on the massive investment outlay by the mobile operators, the President, Association of Telecoms Companies of Nigeria, Mr. Lanre Ajayi, said, “We are all aware of the poor QoS in the country. This is an indication that there is more traffic than the capacity of the networks. This means increased demand for telecoms services, which represents a business opportunity for operators.
“Operators are only responding to these opportunities. With the investments, network capacity will be enhanced, which will definitely lead to improvement in QoS.”
The President, Nigeria Internet Group, Mr. Bayo Banjo, who also spoke to our correspondent, said QoS problems could be better checked with the enforcement of sanctions by the regulator.
He said the MNP scheme might impact on QoS, but added, “There should be some consequences for poor QoS. The investments are worthwhile though.”
Source: The Punch