Steve Evans, Chief Executive Officer of Etisalat Nigeria, said that the company would be investing more in 2G networks in rural areas and in 3G networks in urban centres in 2013. With about 3,500 base stations across Nigeria, Etisalat is targeting 20 million active subscribers by the end of 2013. According to NCC figures, Etisalat had 14.4m subscribers in September 2012.
In an interview with local newspaper The Guardian, Evans also pointed out the challenges posed by interruptions in power supply, suggesting that powering base stations in Nigeria cost 15-20% more than in countries where there was more stable grid power.
Evans also spoke about the NCC ban on promos and lotteries, saying: “The main promotion, which was the root cause of the ban was the one where customers receive five times daily expenditure on on-net calls and which must be exhausted before midnight. To us that promo, from the outset was clearly going to lead to catastrophe, reason why Etisalat didn’t join the foray. The network capacity became congested because it wasn’t capable any longer to carry the traffic.” Evans continued: “NCC needs to reconsider this decision. They should only base a ban on promotions from networks having quality of service and congestion challenges. We feel very bad about the ban. It is unfair, reduces competition and sort of takes the benefit away from the customers. I am sure that if you ran a referendum on Etisalat customers they will tell you they have no congestion issues on the network. So, the criteria used by the regulator needs to be revisited.”