Telcos demand government action to protect telecoms infrastructure

By Kingsley Odii

In a passionate plea, the Association of Licensed Telecom Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) has called for immediate action from the government to protect the country’s telecoms infrastructure.

ALTON emphasised the critical role that infrastructure plays in facilitating data and voice transmission, enabling effective communication and financial transactions across all sectors of the economy.

The telcos urge the government to implement policies that safeguard telecoms infrastructure from theft, intentional destruction, and undue interference from government agencies.

ALTON criticized the alarming practice of government agencies sealing Base Station Transmission (BTS) sites, popularly known as base stations, without considering the severe consequences this has on voice and data communication. The association reveals that state government agencies often seal base stations unlawfully in an attempt to impose additional taxes on telecoms operations.

The telecom operators body also condemned Osun State’s recent initiative, which involves auditing telecoms infrastructure installation with the aim of raising N500 million in revenue from licensed operators.

Chairman of ALTON, Gbenga Adebayo, had described the move as a case of double taxation and highlights the burdensome 46 existing telecoms taxes already imposed nationwide. Adebayo draws attention to the challenges faced by telcos in Kogi State, where excessive taxes have been imposed, and base stations have been unjustly sealed, with no regards for the impact on service quality.

“Telcos are still facing challenges from Kogi State government that has imposed all manners of taxes on telecoms operations and has gone ahead to seal base stations in the state, without recourse to quality of telecoms services in the state and its environ,” Adebayo said, while calling on the federal government and the telecoms industry regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to stop the impunity of most state governments over the sealing of BTS sites,”Adebayo stated.

He urged the federal government and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the telecoms industry regulator, to put an end to this impunity exhibited by state governments.

ALTON is deeply concerned that if the issues in Kogi and Osun states are not resolved, similar troubles may spread to other states, severely affecting service quality. The association expresses worry over social miscreants deliberately stealing or destroying telecoms infrastructure, as well as road contractors damaging fiber optic cables during construction, leading to disruptions in voice and data communication.

Adebayo highlighted the vital importance of telecoms service delivery and its impact on various aspects of human life, particularly in financial transactions through mobile apps and ATMs. He stressed that these services rely on the infrastructure provided by telecoms operators. Adebayo further emphasised how telecoms drive commerce and facilitate online transactions carried out over the internet and mobile devices.


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