ATCON moves to intervene in ISPs wailings over falling market shares

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By Anthony Nwosu and Oluwatobi Opusunju

IT Edge News learned that a letter to the country’s telecom regulator, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) through the umbrella body for all telecom companies, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), is asking for urgent regulatory interventions.

Nigeria’s Internet service operators (ISPs) including Swift Networks, Smile, Spectranet, Zeta Web and other small providers are complaining that economic squeeze and unwholesome competition from big telcos like MTN and Globacom is hindering their survivability.

ISPs fear they may close shop within three months should the regulator fail to apply quick measures that include a more favourable data floor price index, custom waivers on telecom equipment import, and more favorable tax regime on telecom services among others. ISPs argue that the existing data floor price still appears to favour the big players.

ATCON accepts it is in talks with the regulator to see how all operators interests could be covered without undermining consumers’ interests. The Association also hinted at having an all stakeholders forum to address the issue.

Nigeria’s telecom sector has evolved from a sole voice market to become largely data-driven in a way that has pitted mobile operators against traditional ISPs in the data market.

Some ISPs argue that big operators such as Globacom and MTN have submarine cables in their arsenal to give them better cost advantage in delivering data services. But the NCC usually applies the dominant operator principle to checkmate the excesses of big operators.

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