Goodluck SOURCE:THE NEW TIMES
Akinwale Goodluck is Head of Africa, Global System for Mobile communications Association (GSMA), a body that represents the interests of mobile network operators worldwide.
A solicitor of the Supreme Court, he has had a career spanning investment banking and legal practice. In the last 15 years, Goodluck has been engaged in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector, including working with MTN Nigeria at an executive level.
Goodluck, in this interview with ADEYEMI ADEPETUN, explains the type of challenges confronting Nigeria’s telecoms sector, dangers of imposing nine per cent Communication Service Tax, Right of Way, among others.
What do you see as the greatest threat to telecoms sector growth in Nigeria, cum SSA?
When you look at all the stakeholders in the industry, I mean the regulator, consumers, the objective of government in terms of broadband and the digital economy, expectations of government regarding the development of the industry, and the interest of investors, I think the biggest threat to all these stakeholders is the continued declining investments by Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and the struggle of the sector to attract funding compared to the Internet giants for example.
The inability to attract the right funding is a direct consequence of the problems with declining margins in the industry, and this is driven largely by regulators, excessive competition, which leads to reduction in tariffs. In my opinion, I think if this is not checked, the future of the industry is not sustainable, and it poses the greatest threat to the goals of stakeholders in Nigeria.
Across sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), we have seen a wave of consolidation, which in itself is not a bad idea. But, we also need to be careful that the unsustainable environment does not lead to more operators becoming insolvent, doesn’t lead to poor network quality, government not being able to achieve its revenue expectation and investors not being able to get returns on their investments.