MTN says African telecoms needs $200bn funding

By Kokumo Goodie, Lagos, Nigeria

Africa’s telecoms sector requires $200 billion fresh financial inflow to expand telecoms infrastructure and enhance wider continental connectivity, Chief Technical Officer (CTO), MTN South Africa, Lambo Kanagaratnam has said.

He lamented that the continent was lagging behind in connectivity despite the availability of huge bandwidth capacity brought by several submarine cables, adding that MTN invested in four of those submarine cables to deliver superior telecoms services to its customers.

Kanagaratnam, who spoke on Guaranteeing Quality Connectivity Across Africa during the concluding session of the recent AfricaCom conference in South Africa, said operators across the continent faced a lot of challenges laying optic fibre cables. According to him, problems arise because of the huge number of communities that have to be covered while the regulatory environment was also not favourable to operators.

He lamented that while heavy machines had to be deployed to do the laying of the fibre cables because of the terrific terrains, operators were spending hugely in the process. According to him, the rural areas have a history of lacking infrastructure, adding that African governments must provide incentives to operators and other investors interested in investing on the provision of infrastructure in the rural areas.

He tasked governments on the need to make regulations that are more investment-friendly adding that issues like spectrum allocation and licencing should be done on time. He also tasked African leaders to start thinking in the area of granting smart subsidies to operators to enable them deploy more optic fibre cables to ease connectivity across the continent.


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