The Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) on Wednesday called for policy flexibility in favour of Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) operators.
The ALTON chairman, Mr Gbenga Adebayo, told journalists in Lagos that the federal government should give the operators access to capital and other incentives to survive. “With the declining CDMA operation in Nigeria, there is urgent need to help the operators remain in business in order to allow for the continuity of their operations, which has cheaper tariff than GSM service,” he said.
Adebayo called on telecommunications regulators to revisit the interconnect rate model and give preferential treatment to CDMA operators. NAN reports that CDMA is a wireless communication technology that allows multiple people to use a single radio channel at the same time with little interference and very high security. Adebayo said that CDMA operators still existed and had subscribers but were not as prominent as they used to be.
“The fact remains that the choice of technology being used now does not favour CDMA operators,’’ he said.
The chairman also noted that CDMA lines were mostly used in the country in the past. He said that the use of the CDMA lines was reduced as a result of stiff competition with GSM operators. Adebayo said that GSM operators churned out innovative and exciting products for subscribers and lowered call tariffs and SIM cards, causing decline in the number of subscribers on CDMA network. Adebayo said that GSM operators’ subscriber base had continued to rise to the disadvantage of CDMA operators. According to statistics released by the Nigeria Communications Commission for 2018, active mobile telephone lines in Nigeria rose from 149 million in March to 160 million in April. The CDMA for active mobile lines had 217,566 users in April as in March, showing that while the number of GSM lines increased, CDMA active lines remained stagnant. Reacting to the situation, Adebayo said: “CDMA operators need to review their business model to be able to compete with the GSM operators.”
Meanwhile, Africa’s overall mobile phone market remained flat in Q1 2018 although smartphone shipments declined for the second successive quarter, according to the latest insights from International Data Corporation (IDC).
The global technology research and consulting firm’s recently published Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker shows that a total of 52.1 million mobile phones were shipped in Q1 2018, down 6.3 per cent quarter on quarter (QoQ) and 3.9 per cent year on year (YoY), with the continent’s two biggest markets – Nigeria and South Africa – underperforming and posting QoQ declines of 6.4 per cent and 27.4 per cent, respectively.
Senior research manager at IDC, Nabila Popal, said “Nigeria’s modest performance can be attributed to the fact that smartphone adoption continues to be hindered by expensive broadband rates and slow internet connectivity. The drop in South Africa is simply down to seasonal factors, with Q1 traditionally being the slowest quarter of the year and unable to match the buoyant sales seen in Q4, traditionally the strongest, when demand is stirred by Black Friday and the Christmas season.
“While South Africa is one of the continent’s most developed markets, a large proportion of the market still centers around low-end to midrange devices priced below $150. Affordable smartphones that fall into this price range have seen a lot of growth over the last two years, fueled by local brands like Mobicell, MINT, and Vodacom. With disposable income limited for the majority of consumers, most spending on mobile devices takes place in Q4, leading to an inevitable drop-off in Q1.”
Looking at smartphones in isolation, shipments declined 4.5 per cent QoQ for the first quarter of the year to total 20.4 million units. This represents a decline of 4.4 per cent YoY, which is actually an improvement on the 13.7 per cent YoY decline seen in Q4 2017. Transsion brands continued to lead the smartphone category in Q1 2018 with 32.1 per cent share of the market’s shipments, followed by Samsung in second place with 25.4 per cent share.
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