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Telecom Expansion Stalls Amidst Challenges: Vandalism, Insecurity, and Infrastructure Concentration

Telecom Expansion Stalls Amidst Challenges: Vandalism, Insecurity, and Infrastructure Concentration (PHOTO: Premium Times Nigeria)
Telecom Operators stalls expansion because of Vandalism, Insecurity, and Infrastructure Concentration (PHOTO: Premium Times Nigeria)

Telecom operators in Nigeria are facing obstacles that have halted their expansion into rural areas.

These hurdles, including vandalism, insecurity, and high right-of-way charges, were highlighted during the West Africa Telecoms Infrastructure Summit and Exhibition (WATISE) in Lagos.

According to industry insiders, the concentration of telecom infrastructure in major cities is a result of these challenges.

As one operator stated, “With the multiple challenges, returns on investments in infrastructure could only be achieved in cities where there is relative stability and a ready market.” This concentration has left many regions of Nigeria still reliant on aging 2G networks, outside the major urban centers.

The Alarming rate of Data Centres in Lagos

A pressing concern raised during the summit was the overwhelming presence of data centers in Lagos, where 90% of these facilities are located.

This distribution presents a significant obstacle to achieving nationwide broadband penetration, according to Mr. Mike Ofili, the Chief Executive Officer of Coloplus, a tower infrastructure company. He stated, “It is very difficult to lay fiber cable across many communities in Nigeria, you cannot cross any community without paying different people.”

Furthermore, the issue of insecurity was underscored, particularly in the Northern regions, where deploying infrastructure has proven hazardous. Mr. Ofili lamented the situation, saying, “In fact, we have lost many of our engineers to insecurity in the Northern while trying to deploy infrastructure.”

More Insights

The government’s declaration of telecom infrastructure as critical national infrastructure faced criticism during the summit.

Industry experts expressed frustration over what they perceive as a lack of commitment from the government in protecting these vital assets.

Engr. Spencer Itive, the Chairman/Managing Director of RS Engineering Global Ltd., said, “We are yet to see the commitment of the government in protecting telecom infrastructure.”

Spencer Itive further explained how some communities demanded concessions before allowing infrastructure deployment. He noted, “In a certain community, before we could deploy, we had to meet their demand of settling them with 200 liters of diesel.”

The summit emphasized the growing importance of partnerships among telecom companies, technology giants, governments, and startups to address the complex demands of the digital age. According to Itive, “A complex tapestry of partnerships now weaves together telecom companies, technology giants, governments, and a thriving ecosystem of startups. These partnerships are redefining the boundaries of what’s possible in telecommunications.”

Techrectory with Agency Report.

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Written by Ayodeji Ayenuwa

Well, My name is there already, I'm a student of Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko, studying Mass Communication: Public Relations and Advertising.

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