MTN Seeks law to allow them to build critical national infrastructure


In order to secure telecommunications operations and infrastructure in the country, MTN Nigeria Limited has called on the National Assembly, to, as a matter of urgency, initiate laws that will help in securing the telecommunication industry in Nigeria. 

Speaking at the Information Communication Technology/Nigerian Environment Conference held in Lagos, MTN's Regulatory Affairs Manager, Quasim Odunmbaku, suggested some of the laws to include those that will accord telecoms operators the legal status of critical national infrastructure and streamlining acquisition, ownership and retention of land for telecoms purposes. 

Odunmbaku said the federal government should harmonise regulations and taxation in the telecoms sector. He called for the adoption of legislation that would discourage road construction companies from causing persistent damage to fibre networks. 

Speaking further, Odunmbaku suggested the implementation of a number of policies by government that would address the erection of telecoms masts and infrastructure, with particular regard to unambiguous local permit application processes. 

According to him, "Operators and vendors are working on a number of initiatives to develop energy efficient networks and ensure that their customers use energy-efficient handsets." 

The initiatives, he said, include the designing of low energy base station sites, deployment of base stations powered by renewable energy, implementation of infrastructure optimisation and sharing and reduction of mobile device life cycle emissions, through design and recycling. 

According to him, "MTN has spent over N12bn in acquiring generators to provide power for its over 4,798 base stations nationwide. It also spends N500m monthly on diesel and generator maintenance." This situation, he said, was worrisome and called for an urgent solution. 

"Recent degradation in national grid power supply has increased the pressure on generators, increased maintenance cost and outstripped local market capacity for supply of generators to operators," he said. 

He further said that the theft of generators, parts and diesel as well as indiscriminate vandalisation of fibre optic cables and other network infrastructure were the causes of major network outages. 

"An average of 50 sites are inaccessible per day on account of community issues, thereby making it difficult to address network maintenance needs.