Stakeholders make case for virtual, regional telecom operators


Stakeholders in the telecommunications ecosystem have urged federal government and regulatory authority to implement policies aimed at supporting the emergence of regional and Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO).

This is against the backdrop of the need to increase broadband penetration in order to achieve the 30 percent target by next year and address consistent poor quality of service.

MVNO is a provider of management services and a reseller of network services from other telecommunications suppliers that does not own the telecommunication infrastructure.

These network providers are categorized as virtual because they provide network services to customers without owning the underlying network. A M VNO typically leases bandwidth at the wholesale rates from various telecom providers in order to provide solutions to their customers.

They said that emergence of community or regional operators will reduce the over dependence on Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) networks which has resulted in consistent quality of service issues.

Fola Odufuwa, country partner, Nigeria Research ICT Africa, said there are policies in place that community network providers can utilize to deliver communications services within Nigeria.

“There are sufficient license categories within the telecoms framework too. The challenge for companies that seek to operate community networks is however multi-dimensional which could be stream line by regulatory intervention.”

“First, they will be faced with issues of economies of scale in the sense that telecoms is a game of numbers. Equipment vendors as well as the financial markets naturally favour the biggest players who get the lowest possible prices. These players also control most of the frequencies which community operators would need for transmission. Without economies of scale, smaller operators would find it increasingly hard to survive. It is an unfortunate reality that it is yet to be solved even in advanced markets such as the USA and the UK.”

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