In a chat with newsmen in Lagos, the President of the Association of Telecom Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Titi Omo-Ettu stated:
“We need to change that orientation [increasing number of subscribers] and move the emphasis from the number of mobile lines to the number of users. Telephone should be seen as empowerment and not as prestige,”
Tekedia is of the opinion that that is an important new insights on how to run a tech policy in any country. We need to measure the right things. And it is not just the Tech industry, international organizations like World Bank and IMF must do the same.
Think about it, Nigeria’s economy is growing, yet, there are more unemployed youth than ever. The country reserve is higher, yet, businessmen are closing shops. Why? Because the governments are measuring some things that have no influence in people’s direct lives.
MTN brings in $100m to build new infrastructure; that foreign direct investment is basically an expansion of GDP, but to someone in Opopo, it may not matter that much. That Nigeria has millions of mobile lines with some having four lines, it does not change the fact that there are many that cannot afford those minimum maintenance costs and have no phone.
So, our dear President is right – we need to move the emphasis from what they give us which is the number of lines to what we actually get, which is how many people have these lines. That MTN or Glo has say 100m lines does not mean that 100m Nigerians have mobile phones. That number shows a lot of progress but it hides the fact they some villages in Nigeria are yet to get covered very well with network.
Yet, ATCON has an opportunity to push that change and begin to get the telcos to speak in the real language that makes sense. And they seems to be doing that through the ever dynamic President.
The Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) is a professional, non-profit umbrella organisation of all telecommunication companies in Nigeria.
Inaugurated on December 10, 1993 as a national trade organisation, ATCON has its membership drawn from Nigerian and multi-national companies which provide telecommunications and information technology products and services in Nigeria.