Opposition to competition major setback to Nigeria’s telecoms industry

Nigeria’s telecommunications industry regulator the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has acknowledged that if left unaddressed, the current stiff opposition to competition by the nation’s various service providers could be a major setback to the growth of the industry.

According to NCC’s director in charge of policy competition and economic analysis Lolia Emakpore, the commission is now aware of the implications of opposing competition.

She said that in addition to shunting the growth of the sector, it is also capable of eroding away the gains of telecommunications, which the the industry regulator has been sustaining for the past eleven years.

“It was for this reason that the NCC held a meeting in Lagos recently to discuss with all stakeholders, including telecoms operators, to enable it come out with policy statement on fresh guidelines for healthy competition in the industry,” Emakpore said.

She said that before the end of 2012, the new policy statement would be officially released.

The industry’s dominant operators are the anti-competition strategy, which involves enormous corporate magnitude and strong financial strength to intimidate and usurp smaller operators striving to compete with the multinationals in the same market. This she said is carried all in the name of competition.

“Any anti-competitive behaviour sets the industry back. It affects consumers and industry growth, and it kills and stifles development and that is why the NCC will not allow it to play up in the market.

“Although anti-competition is not encouraged, but dominance in the market is not a bad development in itself, but whenever dominant operation is established in the market, there is need for the regulator to come up with proper regulation that will guide against unhealthy dominance, which is referred to as anti-competition,” Emakpore said.

While making the stance of the commission on the issue at hand, Emakpore said the NCC is not in support of such anti-competition and, when necessary, it would apply sanction on defaulting service providers who are accused of promoting anti-competition.

“The Nigerian telecoms market has come a long way and it has grown so big that it has become important for NCC to look into the market and see the level of competition in the market.

“The essence of the stakeholders meeting is to help NCC define the market vertically and horizontally and to help it determine if there are dominant operators in the industry,” Emakpore added.

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