The Oasis Reporters
December 22, 2018
The lingering Indebtedness by three telecommunications firms, 9mobile, Swift and Smile looks set to be disconnected from the ATC Nigeria Wireless limited backbone and the facilities of ATC Nigeria Wireless Infrastructure limited by month end, December.
The three firms are quite well known for superior data services, the fastest growing sector in Nigeria’s bludgeoning telecommunications based sector.
Connected lines in Nigeria has outstripped the country’s population owing to the love it’s citizens have for the new service facilities, far from the only 300, 000 working lines the former government monopoly provided up to twenty two years ago in a nation of over 120 million population as at the time democratic governance took over in 1999. This precipitated a privatization policy that has opened up broadband and other telecommunications services to the applause of Nigerians.
Questions on the lips of many Nigerians remain why telecommunications firms would be reeling under crippling debts when in fact, the demand for their services continues to rise on a daily basis, in an industry where subscribers pay upfront for connectivity.
“Mismanagement”, opined a commentator on the telecommunications sector. “ Most of the managers are incompetent financial business handlers. They see money, and go on a binge. If not, why would a firm crumble when you collect payment in advance except for suffocating incompetence”?
It will be recalled that Nigeria’s now extinct telecommunications monopoly, NITEL crumbled because it fell into huge debts because of its poor business model where subscribers use services and only pay bills after about a month. Unpaid bills piled up as the industry remained corrupt, while it refused to expand or grow, thereby turning telephones into an elitist symbol, only meant for the rich, rather than a mass market tool for everyone. With the entrance of the new model GSM and it’s new platforms, NITEL simply died a natural death.
The Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, has therefore issued an order, pursuant to the NCC Act (2003) and the guidelines on the procedure for granting approval to disconnect telecommunications firms to disconnect the said firms as they do not have sufficient reasons not to settle their indebtedness.