BY ROSEMARY IWUALA
The operating costs of telecommunication companies in Nigeria rose from N1.4trn in 2020 to N1.66trn in 2021, showing an increase of N265.25bn, according to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
NCC stated this in its latest report tagged “2021 Subscriber/Network Data Annual Report”.
“Total operating cost for the mobile network operators increased from N1,395,000,000,000 in 2020 to N1,658,235,000,000 at the end of 2021. This shows an increase of 18.74 per cent from the figure reported in 2020,” the report said.
Prior to this time, telecommunication providers under the aegis of the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) had lamented the rising cost of diesel, which they said had impacted negatively on their operational costs.
Speaking in April, ALTON said the telecom industry is one of the largest consumers of diesel in the country accounting for about 35 percent of operators’ costs.
Gbenga Adebayo, president of the association, while seeking the federal government’s intervention to address the hike, said that the industry was worried about how the rising cost of diesel would further drive the high cost of business.
Adebayo stated that there was a need for an intervention to save the sector, noting that operators might have no other choice but to begin a process of price review.
“Diesel is now very expensive, from N250 to over N700. All network planning, operational expenses, and planned projection for the year is based on the fact that diesel prices have increased,” he said.
The ALTON president added that telcos were also struggling with the availability of diesel and the logistics of delivering it to sites, adding that ALTON would approach the government for some form of intervention to address the high cost and the consequent implication on the economy and citizens.