Nigeria’s ALTON begs for state aid for CDMA operators


A telecommunications expert and president of the Association of Licenced Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria, ALTON , Engr.Gbenga Adebayo has urged the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency come to the rescue of the CMDA telecoms operators which he said are struggling to survive.

Speaking against the backdrop of the huge decline in the active subscriber base of the CDMA operators by 1.08 million in six months, Adebayo said the bailout would enable major operators like Starcomms, Multilinks, ZOOMmobile and Visafone deploy infrastructure better.

The ALTON president who noted that access to capital was one of the major problems affecting the CDMA networks in Nigeria, also said government must begin to find ways to support the not-so-strong operators. Explaining that the aid could be in the form of a bailout from the government to enable them deploy infrastructure better.

'This is not necessarily talking about consolidation, but some kind of relief that can be granted to them to deploy infrastructure better. This is like a bailout from government," He said.

It would be recalled that between January and July this year, the CDMA operators in Nigeria lost about 1.08 million active subscribers. According to the December 2009 to July 2010 subscriber data made available by the Nigerian Communications Commission, active mobile CDMA lines which stood at 7.7 million in January 2010, dropped to 6.6 million by July. It means 1.08 million active lines have become inactive.

According to the data, the number of CDMA lines increased from 7.77 million in January to 7.79 million in February, but dropped to 7.66 million in March. It however, increased to 7.74 million in April. However, the active subscriber base recorded a sharp drop from 7.49 million in May, to 6.83 million in June, and rose again to 6.69 million in July. The highest drop was experienced in June when the figure dropped from 7.49 million in May to 6.83 million.