The Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) has said the recent move by the Federal Government to add a one kobo per second tax on phone calls is a misplaced priority.
Investors King recalls that the Federal Government of Nigeria had, on Monday, said it will implement a one kobo per second tax on phone calls in the nation to fund free healthcare for the vulnerable.
ALTON said it is a “bad fate” on the part of the Government and it is badly intended. “This is because when we came out that the government should look at our cost of operations and give us room to review tariffs, everybody treated us like an outcast.
“The same government is now coming in a matter of days to say they are introducing new taxes. So, when they were saying to us that we cannot increase tariff because it is insensitive to the plight of the people and now, they brought another tax thing through the back door, we think it is bad fate and badly intended. So if we cannot review based on the impact it will have on subscribers, why are they bringing in another tax, still on subscribers.
“Government cannot act in one way and say another thing”, ALTON said.
According to ALTON, this will affect subscribers because they get less value for what they pay for.
“It means now that when you buy a 100 recharge card, the percentage will be deducted from it and paid to the government. So it is shortchanging the people. What will happen is that operators will be mandated to collect this tax on their behalf and remit it to the government”, the association noted.
ALTON suggested that although the motive for the tax rate is understandable, the government should have looked elsewhere to source it.
It said: “Not telecoms subscribers whom the government has said its suffering because of living lately
“We will not complain as operators because we will definitely remit, it is the subscribers that will bear the brunt”.
A Lagos State resident, Taiwo Popoola, in a conversation with Investors King, said the decision to increase the tax rate will be too hard for an average Nigerian to bear if implemented. According to him, only the upper class of the society will conveniently afford it.
“On the part of the users, buying airtime will drastically reduce. People would resolve to use social media channels to reach each other and may, in turn, reduce the income of these telecommunication companies,” Taiwo said.
Nigeria’s 5G Network Subscriptions Soar to Half a Million, Broadband Penetration at 47.01%
The Executive Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, revealed that Nigeria’s Fifth Generation (5G) network subscriptions have surpassed half a million users.
Broadband penetration has surged to 47.01% as of July 2023, marking a significant leap in the country’s telecommunications landscape.
Speaking from Kano, Prof. Danbatta highlighted the remarkable achievements of the telecoms industry since 2015. In July, he reported that 5G subscriptions had surged to over 60,000 in the nation.
Also, he emphasized the nation’s ambitious goals, aiming to achieve 50% broadband penetration by the close of 2023 and a remarkable 70% broadband penetration by the conclusion of 2025.
In a statement, Prof. Danbatta stated, “Moreover, the telecommunications sector has undergone a substantial transformation, with its contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growing from 8% in 2015 to an impressive 16% quarterly as of the second quarter of 2023, signifying its growing significance to the Nigerian economy.”
He further elaborated, “Furthermore, the authorization of additional telecommunications companies to operate within Nigeria’s telecoms sector has led to a remarkable upsurge in investments. In 2015, the sector attracted $38 billion in investments, a figure that has now soared to an astonishing $75 billion and continues to rise daily. Notably, the NCC’s sale of 5G C-Band Spectrum has generated over $847.8 million in revenue for the Federal Government.”
In related news, the Minister of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy, Bosun Tijani, emphasized Nigeria’s commitment to bolstering telecommunication connectivity in unserved and underserved communities.
Minister Tijani stressed that connectivity serves as a catalyst for progress and highlighted the nation’s eagerness to establish partnerships aimed at bridging the digital divide.
Nigerian Communications Commission Reports Remarkable Growth in Telecom Sector
Prof. Umar Danbatta, the Executive Vice-Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has revealed impressive figures showcasing the robust growth of telecom investments in the country.
During a recent media interaction held in Kano on Saturday, Danbatta disclosed that the telecom investment inflow in Nigeria had surged from $38 billion to an astounding $77 billion by the second quarter of 2023.
Also, he highlighted that the telecommunications sector had contributed 16 percent to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) during the same period.
Danbatta attributed this growth to a combination of factors, primarily “thorough sustained regulatory excellence and operational efficiency by the commission.”
Since taking office as the EVC of NCC in 2015, he noted that the sector’s contribution to GDP had more than doubled, from around eight percent to the current 16 percent.
In addition to this, Danbatta underscored the industry’s achievements, stating, “We have witnessed explosive growth, improved regulatory standards, and digital innovation that have generated global recognition.”
He further revealed significant milestones in telecommunications usage, with 218.9 million telephone users, 159.5 million internet subscribers, and 88.7 million broadband users in Nigeria within the reviewed period.
However, Danbatta acknowledged that several challenges still hampered the full potential of broadband deployment in the country. These challenges include issues related to the right of way, fiber cuts, high capital requirements for deployment, multiple taxations, and complex regulations.
Nevertheless, Danbatta assured stakeholders that the NCC was committed to addressing these obstacles and navigating through regulatory complexities, digital divide, and literacy issues.
As part of their initiatives to enhance communication and emergency response, the NCC announced plans to establish emergency communication centers in all 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
Furthermore, the commission had increased research grants for universities from N20 million to N30 million, benefitting three universities thus far.
Danbatta explained that the NCC aimed to provide accessible and affordable telecom services as an enabler for the country’s economic advancement.
However, he also highlighted some ongoing challenges, such as the wilful destruction of NCC facilities and the burden of numerous taxes imposed on telecommunications companies.
Despite these challenges, the NCC remains committed to engaging with the media industry and the public to ensure transparency and to keep everyone informed about its activities.
Nigeria’s Largest Telecom Operator, MTN, Enhances Broadband Reach with 10MHz Spectrum Approval
MTN, Nigeria’s leading telecom operator, has received approval for an additional 10MHz spectrum allocation within the 2.6GHz spectrum band.
This development is poised to significantly bolster broadband coverage across all 36 states of the federation, including the Federal Capital Territory.
Karl Toriola, Chief Executive Officer of MTN Nigeria, said, “This additional spectrum will empower us to uphold our commitment to delivering high-quality services to our valued customers while actively supporting the Federal Government’s agenda to expand broadband access nationwide.”
This valuable spectrum allocation was acquired from OpenSkys Services Limited, a reputable indigenous Nigerian telecommunications company licensed by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to provide telecommunication services on the 450MHz frequency band.
The 2.6GHz spectrum band is designated for the deployment of terrestrial mobile broadband services.
According to a report by the GSMA, this spectrum band serves as an ideal complement to the 700MHz-800MHz spectrum bands, forming a formidable combination capable of delivering cost-effective nationwide mobile broadband coverage, encompassing both rural and urban areas.
As of December 2022, broadband penetration in Nigeria stood at 47.36 percent. The Federal Government of Nigeria has set a target of achieving 70 percent broadband penetration by 2025. MTN Nigeria’s acquisition of this broadband spectrum allocation is poised to equip the ICT giant with the capabilities required to offer enhanced broadband services to meet the surging demand for widespread and uniform mobile broadband services nationwide.
In the words of Karl Toriola, “This additional spectrum will empower us to uphold our commitment to delivering high-quality services to our valued customers while actively supporting the Federal Government’s agenda to expand broadband access nationwide.”
MTN believes that the integration of this spectrum allocation will lead to a significant enhancement in the customer experience, aligning perfectly with their dedication to delivering exceptional services.
Also, this acquired spectrum will equip the telecommunications operator with the tools needed to deploy advanced broadband technologies, thereby contributing to the realization of Nigeria’s broadband objectives.
A report by the GSMA underscores the pivotal role of broadband penetration, particularly in developing countries, in driving an increase in Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This highlights the urgent need for continuous development and investment in broadband infrastructure, exemplified by the inclusion of the 2.6GHz spectrum band.
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