Debris of dead CDMA telephone lines litter Nigeria

(L- R): Clement Baiye, Board Commissioner, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC); Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman/CEO, NCC; Olabiyi Durojaiye, Chairman, NCC Board of Commissioners; and Felix Adeoye, Commission Secretary, NCC.

Latest statistics from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the telecoms industry regulator, has suggested a crowded graveyard for the once active code division multiple access (CDMA) subsector of the telecoms industry.

According to the NCC, CDMA segment had just 217,566 lines while Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) accounted for 144.6 million lines out the total 145 million reported for December 2017.

In December of 2014, there were some 2,108,960 and the counterpart had 137 million during the same period.CDMAs have performed poorly due to a number of reasons including the local financiers’ refusal to lend to CDMA operators because of their repulsive financial record.

Further investigations revealed that some CDMA operators had over the years regularly and consciously ignored sustained and systematic red flags as their promoters and managers diverted funds meant for expansion into frivolous projects like manufacturing, oil and gas, politics and so on.

The deaths of CDMAs were also quickened by corporate mismanagement because of the fraudulent and self-serving practices of some members of board and management and the overbearing influence of chairmen or MD/CEOs of CDMAs.

Experts also point at non-compliance with laid down internal controls and operation procedures, biased recruitment exercises and general lack luster management practices as some of the reasons why the companies have failed to click.The sorry state of affairs with the CDMA operators has also to do with growing subscribers’ preference for GSM services.

The likes of NITEL, MTel, Starcomms, Reliance Telecoms (Zoom Mobile), Intercellular, MTS First Communications, WiTel, O’ Net (Odua Telecoms), Rainbownet, Monarch Communications, Xs Broadband, Webcom, and Disc Communications are either bought over, dead or on life support.The operators became inactive, following the total loss of their customers to other operators that are currently pulling weight in the industry.

Only recently, Nigerian Communications Commission, charged telecom operators in the country to comply with the Code of Corporate Governance (CCG) for efficient and transparent service delivery. Prof Umar Danbatta, executive vice chairman of the commission, said strict compliance to the Code of Corporate Governance had come to stay in Nigeria and was now compulsory for all telecom operators in the country.

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