The telecom industry stakeholders, players and regulators converged at the prestigious Oriental Hotel ,Lekki for ‘Telecom Executives and Regulator Forum (TERF) 2019, An annual roundtable meet organised by the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), the foremost umbrella body of telecom players in the country to discuss the development, realities and challenges that the industry has witnessed in the past one year.
In his keynote address, the president of ATCON, Sola Teniola said “The forum is designed as an opportunity for the regulators to receive feedback from the industry with a view to understanding the challenges and prospects industry players have to grapple with and explore to ensure sustained growth of the industry. To a large extent, participants are expected to brainstorm on measures that would fast-track the rapid expansion of telecommunications services across the federation in the years ahead.”
The president used the opportunity to address the various challenges that has affected the telecommunications ecosystem such as formulation of policy that would address the use of OTTs, looked at the various loopholes and gaps in infrastructure funding and asked for collaborations between government agencies such as The Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), Standard organisation of Nigeria (SON), National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and others , he also hinted in regulations that would be if use in the area of emerging technology – cloud computing and it’s usage.
In his words “The forum is set to discuss and proffer lasting solutions to the following topical industry issues; Formulation of Policy and Regulation for OTTs: Challenges and Prospects; Funding Telecoms Investment in Nigeria: How would the deficit in the Nigerian telecom infrastructure be financed?; Eradication of the influx of cloned and fake phones and other telecoms devices in Nigeria: The role of NCC, Nigerian Custom, SON, and other Relevant Government Agencies; Regulation and Policies on Cloud Computing and Cybersecurity threats in Nigeria.”
The industry regulator, NCC has put investments in the telecommunications sector at $68 billion as at 2018 and could double in the next 10 years. The regulator called for the fast tracking of infrastructure by Infrastructure Companies (InfraCos) so as to meet the yearnings of the underserved Nigerians.
The Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta who was represented by Mr. Mohammed Babajika, the Director, Policy Competition & Economic Analysis said “”We have about 40 million Nigerians yet to be reached with basic infrastructure and services.The quest for data and social media, as well as the increasing value added services create new frontiers for investments.”
The forum also looked at the issue of fake and substandard mobile device , they enjoined the SON and NITDA to fashion out specifications that would be used in Nigeria in terms of hardware.
In a press statement by Executive Secretary of ATCON, Mr. Ajibola Olude said the Association was assuring the entire telecom and ICT stakeholders that this year’s edition of TERF 2019 is pivotal to addressing issues that are confronting the telecoms and ICT sector in Nigeria.
TERF forum is one of the ATCON’s flagship initiatives for the telecom and ICT industry in Nigeria. Specifically, it is designed for the purpose of creating a veritable opportunity for key industry players to interact with the industry regulators with the aim of building a continual good working relationship between industry players and the regulators.