Nigerian Telcos May Stop GSM Services in Some States Due to Unapproved Taxes

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closed cell sites

Soon, mobile phone users in some states may not be able to make or receive calls.  This is because telecommunication companies have threatened to stop engaging state governments over closed cell sites in states that impose unapproved taxes and levies.

A cell site or cell tower is a cellular-enabled mobile device site (typically on a radio mast, tower, or other raised structure) — to create a cell in a cellular network.

According to NigeriaCommunicationsWeek, the Chairman of the Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Engr. Gbenga Adebayo said that the decision is necessitated by the continuous closure of the  Base Transreceiver Station (BTS) of telecommunications operators since the beginning of this year on account of unapproved taxes and levies by some state government agencies.

The challenges of absurd taxes on members of ALTON, are majorly from regions including South South; South East and North East and also some states in South- west.

Some of the imposed taxes, according to him include aviation clearance, site inspection fee, hawking permit, building permit, building fitness, sewage fees, fumigation, sewage fees, refuse collection and disposal, capitation fee, shop rate and some others.

What Would Effect Would this Have?

An Abandonment of ‘closed cell sites’ would mean that such sites would be it inactive and useless. It would limit usage of digital services, as all the mobile phones within the radius of coverage of the closed site won’t be able to make or receive calls. Thus, hindering the growth of the sector and the development of new investments and also more inclusive services for users.

Additionally, it will reduce the ability of mobile operators to finance investment in digital infrastructure, and can in the long term reduce government revenues.

What is the Way Out?

According to Engr. Adebayo, a declaration of telecommunications infrastructure as critical national infrastructure by President Muhammadu Buhari would help to address the closure of cell sites in the country.

We have Cybercrime act which is already an act of parliament, a provision of that act demands the president to pronounce certain infrastructure as critical national.

He is of the opinion that on the strength of that law, the president should give an order declaring telecommunications infrastructure as critical national infrastructure. With that order, hopefully, the game will change in favour of telcos.

 


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