In a bid to reduce the cost of broadband infrastructure, the Federal Government has said it would launch the ‘Dig Once’ policy before the end of the year to lower the cost of infrastructure deployment for telecommunications companies and subsequently reduce the cost of telecommunications services for Nigerians.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy Prof. Isa Pantami made the announcement while speaking at the fourth edition of the Policy Implementation Assisted Forum (PIAFo) on Dig Once Policy and Fibre Strategy in Nigeria with the theme: Laying the Foundation for Ubiquitous Broadband for Nigeria’s Economic Breakthrough.
The minister who was represented by Engineer Usman Aliyu, Secretary of the Broadband Implementation Steering Committee (BISC) stated that by implementing the ‘Dig Once’ policy, the government seeks to achieve 70% broadband penetration by 2025.
He said, “Some of the objectives of the policy are provisioning of shared infrastructure for existing internet service providers and entrants, promotion of installation of ready-made buried fiber conduit for broadband deployment, and reduction of the barriers to entry for Internet Service Providers.
“Others are to promote coordination and reduce the number of excavations and disruptions caused due to fiber installation works, to lower the cost of broadband internet service deployment, to promote the joint installation of infrastructures in a single phase and avoid unnecessary future digging as well as encouraging infrastructure, and to promote a unified and affordable pricing regime across the federation for Right of Ways.”
He further disclosed that once the policy begins to function in the country, there would be lower costs of repair and maintenance of installed fiber infrastructure and a lower cost of broadband internet service deployment.
This new policy was announced a few days after the government directed all telecommunications operators to revert to the old price and abolish the 10 percent increase on data and calls previously imposed on Nigerians.
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African telecommunications giant MTN is reportedly contemplating an “orderly exit” from its operations in Guinea-Bissau, Guinea-Conakry, and Liberia, according to a report by Business Insider Africa.
The company, which currently operates in 19 countries across Africa and the Middle East, aims to streamline its portfolio and address challenges in the West and Central Africa (Weca) region.
While the exact reasons for the potential exit remain undisclosed, MTN’s financial reports indicate broader challenges in the Weca segment.
CEO Ralph Mupita highlighted concerns over inflation and currency devaluation in multiple markets.
The company’s 2022 financials revealed a 1.7% decline in EBITDA margin due to pricing pressures, fintech channel subsidies, and macroeconomic hurdles.
Although Guinea-Bissau, Guinea-Conakry, and Liberia contribute only 1.6% to MTN’s total revenue, the move aligns with the company’s strategic focus on optimizing its market presence.
MTN holds a significant market share, approximately 30%, in Guinea-Bissau and Guinea-Conakry, while Lonestar MTN is the second-largest telecom operator in Liberia.
The potential exit reflects MTN’s commitment to adapting its business strategy to navigate the evolving economic landscape and optimize its portfolio for sustained growth.
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