Africa’s largest telecom firm, MTN, has said the activities of ‘over-the-top’ companies like WhatsApp have adverse effects on the sustainability of Nigeria’s telecommunications industry.
The company’s Chief Executive Officer, Ferdinand Moolman, said this while making a presentation at a hearing convened by Senate Committee on Communications on Tuesday.
The hearing chaired by Adeola Olamilekan, vice-chairman of the committee, was organised following the now suspended data tariff hike by the Nigerian Communications Commission.
At the Tuesday’s hearing, Mr. Moolman, highlighted factors impacting Nigeria’s telecommunications industry.
Among these factors, Mr. Moolman mentioned “the depletion of operator revenues by unlicensed providers of “over-the-top” telecoms services who do not have any physical presence; nor pay any taxes; nor make any significant contribution to employment or other socio-economic objectives of government in Nigeria.
Mentioning WhatsApp, Viber etc., he said these companies were eroding gains of Nigeria’s telecom companies and asked Nigeria to take action like the United Arab Emirates did.
He also lamented the inability of operators to access foreign exchange. “This is particularly debilitating given that most of our inputs are sourced off-shore. This has very significantly increased both operating and capital expenses.”