Sale of Towers will create more Jobs for Nigerians – Airtel’s CEO

By Adebayo Dawodu

Monday, February 3rd, 2014: Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Airtel Nigeria, Segun Ogunsanya, has assured that the move by Telecoms Operators to transfer their tower assets to Tower Management Companies would lead to the creation of more employment opportunities for experts in the field of tower management as well as telecoms engineers.

Ogunsanya, who made the assertion, while speaking yesterday (Monday, February 3rd, 2014) at an exclusive parley the media in Lagos, dismissed the speculations in some quarters that the intended sale of towers by Telcos would result in job losses for core engineers.

According to him, the move will allow operators concentrate on their core competences and also allow those who are better equipped professionally to manage the towers to do so.

According to the Airtel boss, the eco-system of telecommunications business is growing a wide value-chain, which has Nigerians (locals) at the epicenter. “So, more jobs would be created rather than lost, given that the new owners will definitely like to grow their businesses.

He referred to the Call Centres, which were outsourced to Business Process Outsourcing (BPOs) partners some years ago, saying that the number of people employed in the Call Centre business has grown exponentially by over 300% contrary to the initial fears expressed by some people.

“So, rather than create fears in the minds of our Engineers, who will be moving to these Tower Management companies, and disaffection in the hearts of Nigerians, who have been beneficiaries of the GSM revolution started in 2001, we should highlight the immense advantages inherent in this strategic business move by the telcos,” he said.

In practice, he said, many Telcos had already outsourced their network operations to experts like Ericsson and Huawei, who in turn outsourced maintenance services like fueling, cleaning and security to local companies known in industry parlance as ISMs.

The Airtel CEO who was flanked by the company's Director of Regulatory Affairs & Special Projects, Osondu Nwokoro and Director of Corporate Communications & CSR, Emeka Oparah, also disclosed that there is a lot of cheering stories coming from the telecommunications sector, saying the sector has attracted several billions of dollars FDI in the past 12 and a half years of the launch of GSM in Nigeria.

According to Ogunsanya, the Nigeria's telecoms industry is perhaps the only one which has continued to creatively take advantage of a combination of economic factors including technology, competition, outsourcing, and other economies of scale, to drive costs down hence price of telecommunications services and related products like phones and other devices.

“Telcos have remained consistent in cost reduction and price reduction”, he added “and cost of calls, SMS and devices have dropped many times over. “

“The telecommunications industry has demonstrably employed more people directly and indirectly since 2001. The marketing communications industry, construction, security, petroleum marketing and several others ha