Zambia hints at fifth telco operator

A fifth telco
for Zambia?

Enough room says
industry regulator.

Tuesday, Feb 25th

OTT services 'cannibalising' voice revenue says MTN Nigeria

OTT services 'cannibalising' voice revenue says MTN Nigeria

Nigerian telecom operators have justified moves to block subscriber access to Over-the-Top (OTT) services, including Skype and WhatsApp, saying it is necessary in order to protect revenues.

Operators are reportedly losing international call revenue to OTT services and this is making it difficult for the industry to reach revenue targets.

Confirming the development, representatives of two major telecoms companies said the move is justifiable since the West African country had lost as much as NGN100 trillion between 2012 and 2017.

Without taking active and drastic steps, they said the losses will continue and will increase year-on-year since more OTT apps are providing voice and video services including WhatsApp, imo, Skype, Facebook, BlackBerry Messenger, Viber and several others. Altogether, these services have reduced voice revenues made by telecoms companies in Nigeria by more than half say the representatives.

MTN Nigeria's Public Relations and Protocol Manager Funso Aina described OTT services as 'cannibalising'.

"OTTs allow users to send unlimited texts, images, video and audio messages free of charge, using their current data plans. They are denying operators of revenue to grow their networks, thereby impacting on service delivery and long-term sustainability. For instance, to date, MTN has invested over $15bn in building its network in Nigeria. You can now imagine an OTT leveraging the network to deliver its content without investing a kobo locally. The impact on revenue is huge,

"Furthermore, because these entities are not licensed, and because they have not built any infrastructure locally, they do not have the same costs as the licensed operators. They do not pay taxes, they do not employ any people locally, and indeed, they have no local presence whatsoever, meaning they do not make any contribution to our economy and their services are denying those who make contributions of income."

Research and analytics outfit Ovum revealed that between 2012 and 2018, Nigeria would have lost US$386 billion to OTT services.

"Generally, the main fear of the telecoms operators here will be that customers will increasingly use Skype as a substitute for conventional international calls," Ovum reported.

Operators have lambasted the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for not doing enough to protect them and their investments.

The NCC's Director of Public Affairs, Tony Ojobo, said the Regulator is not in support of any attempt to block the OTT services since, according to him, it does not regulate the internet.

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