Leading telecommunications service provider Airtel Networks Nigeria has appealed to the Federal Government through the Nigerian Communications (NCC) Commission to Ã¢â‚¬Å“include telecommunications equipment in the list of national infrastructure protected by lawÃ¢â‚¬Â in order to safeguard investments and ensure quality service to subscribers.
Airtel Nigeria CEO and Managing Director, Mr. Rajan Swaroop, made the call Thursday, June 30 at an interactive forum and dinner with senior media executives to mark one year of Airtel operations in Nigeria held at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel.
Swaroop said Nigeria should Ã¢â‚¬Å“make an effort to nationally secure telecommunications infrastructure for the benefit of all stakeholdersÃ¢â‚¬Â due to persistent damage to telecom fibres along the expressways and roads in the country and the rising spate of vandalizing telecoms equipment.
Swaroop stated that Ã¢â‚¬Å“various parties including those working on roads do extensive damage to telecom infrastructure daily. These fibre cuts affect the network and it takes a while to discover where the damage happened. Therefore, we need as a country to take a stand on protecting this infrastructure as a national priority.Ã¢â‚¬Â
He pled with the media to draw public attention to this untoward development which has the potential of sabotaging the effort of government and operator towards attaining global standards in quality of service.
The Airtel Nigeria boss revealed that the company has increased its investment profile in Nigeria from an initial US$600m to over US$1billion, to meet the challenges and opportunities of the Nigerian market in the first 18 months of its operations.
Noting that Ã¢â‚¬Å“challenges are being discovered as we trail the pathÃ¢â‚¬Â, Swaroop stated, Ã¢â‚¬Å“As we stated on arrival, Nigeria is the biggest market in Africa, which in turn is the only telecommunications market region that is still grossly underserved. We have made significant investment and are still making as we seek to strengthen the network we inherited, make it more robust and expand coverage especially to the rural communitiesÃ¢â‚¬Â.
Swaroop said Airtel is committed to creating jobs and employment opportunities in Nigeria. It has therefore retained its call centre operations in the country even as the technology exists to run the service from locations with lower costs of doing business.
Airtel Networks, Swaroop added, has deployed business process outsourcing for the management of its network and for its call centres. He stated, Ã¢â‚¬Å“In the past nine months, we have recruited additional 1300 Call Centre Agents bringing the total capacity to 2100 through our partners, Spanco and Tech Mahindra. As we roll out new Call Centres, more young graduates will be given employment as we promised President Goodluck Jonathan when we arrived in Nigeria. We are expanding our core functions of sales, marketing, and operations. That has resulted in growth opportunities for existing staff and new jobs for other experienced Nigerians. I can tell you we are attracting remarkable talents from other telecommunications companies and fast-moving consumer goods companies.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Swaroop restated the commitment of Airtel Nigeria to providing first class telecommunications experiences to Nigerians. Airtel has launched several innovative products in the last one year in pursuit of the objective of telecommunications freedom for Nigerian subscribers.
The Airtel Chief Executive stated, Ã¢â‚¬Å“We have launched some ground-breaking services and products, which are now redefining the Nigerian telecommunications market. I believe some of you are already enjoying our 2Good, 2Good Extra, Easy Recharge, Big Family and the latest, MAMO (My Airtel; My Offer). We have not only provided our customers with a wider choice of value-adding products and services, we have also deepened the competition in the market place, and the customers are definitely the better for it.Ã¢â‚¬Â
On data infrastructure and service, Swaroop said Airtel would excite the market again with its offerings. He affirmed that while the four submarine cable systems entering Nigeria have the capacity to meet the needs of Nigerians, Ã¢â‚¬Å“watch out for the next 12 months and you will see some exciting stuff coming out of AirtelÃ¢â‚¬Â.