Oghenevwede Ohwovoriole in Abuja
The Secretary General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Mr. Houlli Zhao, has disclosed that both ICT and telecom businesses are profitable, but highly risky.
He stated this during his maiden visit to Nigeria on Wednesday, when he visited the Nigerian Communications Commission’s cooperate Headquarters in Abuja.
According to him, “ICT is a profit making business; Telecom is a profit making business; on the other hand, ICT business and Telecom business are also high risk business, the competition is very though among operators.
“This is my first visit to Nigeria, I have be wanted to come to Nigeria for quite a long time but never got the chance. I have heard a lot of good stories about ICT development and Telecom development in Nigeria; I try to come here earlier but unfortunately I couldn’t make it. I met some of your colleagues and companies at Barcelona recently last week.”
According the Mr. Zhao, Nigeria had one of the most active ICT development companies with a big population that helps a market to grow, saying that as far back as 2013 that Nigeria and some other African Countries were already using 4G when it was been used only in Brussels.
The ITU representative added: “Nigeria has one of the most active unsupervised ICT development company. One of the examples that I like to share with my friend is that in October 2013, at an international conference to talk about ICT development, at that meeting European Union for ICT in his presentation, said European market has developed and that they are planning for the future and that they have has started using 4G services in Brussels.
â€˜â€™That’s their headquarters but yet they don’t know when they can use 4G in their capitals but here in Africa 4G is already in several capitals. The report I got in there was that Nigeria was already on 4G. So I was very pleased and said I would like to come to the African continent to those with 4G and indeed and truly in 2014 I was in Namibia.
â€˜â€™And I found out that Namibia’s cities are already using 4G but did not have chance to come to Abuja because the reference was to Nigeria in particular. Nigeria has big population with a big population market you have a lot of potentials to help create employment and services and you also have challenges and people like China, India.â€™â€™
He admitted that though 4G was still underdeveloped, operators cannot be left behind, advising them to keep up with the introduction of newer technology even when they are yet to fully recover their investments in the old technology.
He added, “We know that 4G is still underdeveloped in particular our operators have very tough situations that after 3G you have to invest in 4G, after 4G we are talking about 5G. When the investment on 3G may not be fully recovered then you already have to invest on 4G; when 4G have not been fully put to service you are under pressure to develop 5G.
â€˜â€™Competition among our operators is very tough; his can you get more costumers, how can you get more. Our operators face challenges not only on budgets for investments on new technologies but also face challenges new services like OTTs. Our major investors are ICT companies and our operators.”
The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) MR. Umar Danbata while responding stated that the major challenge of the commission is to improve the quality of service.
On his part, Mr. Ferdi Moolhan, Chief Executive Officer of MTN said that the every industry has its challenges, saying the Telecom industry in Nigeria was not an exemption.
According to him, “Like every other country in the world everybody has unique challenges in the industry and in the environment; so we have unique in Nigeria also; but rather than talk about the challenges I thought we rather talk about the opportunities in the industry and we must be positive and look forward.