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Telecoms: NCC urges MNOs on infrastructure sharing, new techs for enhanced services, cost-effectiveness

*Dr. Aminu Maida, Executive Vice-Chairman and CEO of the Nigerian Communications Commission, urges Mobile Network Operators to consider infrastructure sharing in addressing certain operational challenges, to achieve cost-effectiveness, engender growth and innovation in the country’s telecoms ecosystem

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

Dr. Aminu Maida, Executive Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (EVC/CEO) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has advocated the adoption of Infrastructure Sharing (IS) model by the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) for improved services to telecoms consumers and cost-effective operations.

Maida made the recommendation in his presentation at the recent West African Telecoms Infrastructure Summit and Exhibition, in Lagos.

The EVC/CEO of NCC, represented at the event by Victor Adoga, Head of Next Generation Technology and Standards  of the Commission, noted though Nigeria now boasts over 219 million mobile subscribers, the West African country yet faces such operational challenges as uneven service distribution and limited infrastructure in some areas within the telecoms ecosystem.

According to Maida, the telecoms sector regulatory Commission believes that co-location and infrastructure sharing can address such operational issues, and pave the way for growth and innovation in the telecoms industry in Nigeria.

Essence of Infrastructure Sharing in telecoms ecosystem

ConsumerConnect reports the Commission’s updated “Guidelines on Co-location and Infrastructure Sharing” states IS is aimed at ensuring the incidence of “unnecessary duplication of infrastructure is minimised or completely avoided”, while protecting the environment by reducing the proliferation of infrastructure and facilities installations;

The regulator also said the operational arrangement is to “ensure that the economic advantages derivable from the sharing of facilities are harnessed for the overall benefit of all telecoms stakeholders.

It equally, emphasised tha Infrastructure Sharing minimises “capital expenditure on supporting infrastructure, and to free more funds for investment in core network equipment”, as well as encourage Access Providers and Access Seekers to pursue a cost-oriented policy with the added effect of a reduction in the tariffs chargeable to telecoms consumers.

Dr. Maida, in his address on the occasion, therefore, urged telecoms companies to work together and share infrastructure, stating the expansion of fiber optic infrastructure as essential to increase Internet coverage and improve internet quality for telecoms consumers in Nigeria.

There is also the need for industry stakeholders to cultivate a cadre of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) experts capable of navigating the complexities of the digital era in the country’s ecosystem.

In making the best of this approach, the Commission further highlighted the high costs of building telecoms infrastructure, and suggested Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs), infrastructure funds, and innovative financing models as solutions.

Such collaborative efforts can help to reduce operational costs and improve service delivery for telecoms consumers across the country, stated Maida.

Besides, the NCC Chief highlighted the importance of embracing new technologies to engender enhanced service delivery to consumers.

The Commission also urged telecoms operators to leverage Artificial Intelligence (AI) to optimise networks, predict maintenance needs, and improve customer service in the sector of the Nigerian economy.

Development and adoption of ‘smart infrastructure’

The Commission also highlighted that developing “smart infrastructure” is seen as crucial to support smart city applications, such as traffic management and public safety solutions.

Maida, in his address, stated that Nigeria is at the forefront of technological advancements with the rollout of 5G technology.

He emphasised this next-generation technology promises faster speeds, lower latency, and greater capacity, enabling applications, such as the Internet of Things (IoTs), autonomous vehicles, and smart cities.

Aside from this, the 6G revolution will transform industries from agriculture to healthcare, creating efficiencies and improving lives, he noted.

All of these mean a massive increase in connected devices and a shift in data management strategies for the telecoms industry in Nigeria, said the Commission.

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