Telecommunication Companies(Telcos) operating in the country, on Tuesday said they may have no choice but to increase the tariff for voice calls and data over the decision of 14 state governments to increase the cost of right of way (RoW) for telecommunication infrastructure.
The Telcos, acting under the aegis of Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) warned that the regime of discriminatory tariff may become inevitable as they operate under different conditions in some states.
The Chairman of ALTON, Gbenga Adebayo, while speaking in Lagos, lamented that some states have seen the telecoms sector as cash cow that should be milked, adding that they come with “very spurious taxes, charges and levies.”
The threat is coming few days after the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, disclosed that he has written to state governors to comply with the National Economic Council’s (NEC) resolution on RoW.
According to Adebayo, the states which hiked the levy are Lagos, Kano, Anambra, Ondo, Cross River, Kogi, Osun, Kaduna, Enugu, Adamawa, Ebonyi, Imo, Kebbi and Gombe.
The RoW charge is the levy paid to state governments for laying of optic fibre on state roads.
At present, the cost of RoW on federal roads is N142 per linear metre.
The 14 states, however, increased RoW fees from between N300-N500 per linear metre to between N3,000-N6,000 per linear metre.
A single telecoms operator needs RoW covering thousands of kilometres.
Telcos across the country have previously blamed poor services experienced by subscribers on the refusal of federal and state agencies to grant RoW licence to lay more fibre optic cables in cities.
They claimed they had envisaged heavy surge during the festive period and had long requested for RoW licence that would enable them to expand their networks by laying more broadband fibre optic cables, adding that their request was rejected by the various government agencies, forcing them to maintain the available network that is not sufficient to manage the peak periods.