WE'LL NOT INVEST IN FIBRE OPTIC CABLE â€“ ETISALAT CEO
The Chief Executive Officer, Etisalat, Mr. Steven Evans, has said the telecoms operator is not planning to build a submarine fibre optic cable but will rather buy capacities from other operators.
Evans, who spoke with our correspondent on the sidelines of the company's career counselling programme for secondary school students in Lagos, on Friday, noted that efforts would be made to securitise supplies by patronising two cable operators at the same time.
This, according to him, is to ensure that the telecoms firm gets regular cable supplies with both suppliers serving as back up to each other.
He said, 'We have already bought capacity from Main One and there are other cables coming into Nigeria with more capacity, so we are not going to build a cable of our own, we don't see that as necessary. There are specialist companies, which build subsea cables and they have enormous capacity on those cables. So, we will take a certain capacity from at least two cable providers in order to make sure that we have the security of supplies from two suppliers.'
Fitch Ratings recently affirmed Etisalat long-term Foreign Currency Issuer Default Rating at 'A+' with a stable outlook. The rating, according to experts, reflects that the company's international mobile operations in India, Egypt and Nigeria will provide its major source of expansion.
However, going by Evans' declaration, this expansion does not include building of fibre optic cables.
Fiber optic cable investments have been making wave in Nigeria as Information Technology/ Telecoms operators believe it will enhance broadband penetration in the country.
Globacom, MainOne Cable Company and MTN Nigeria (co-owner of the West African Submarine Cable) have taken the lead by investing in the submarine cables.
Evans, who also spoke on the company's Corporate Social Responsibility, noted that the career counseling scheme provided Etisalat's employees the opportunity to give back to the society by making their knowledge and skills useful.
According to him, 'Through the volunteering programme, Etisalat employees have an opportunity to fulfil their personal as well as the company's corporate desire of impacting society positively. They are encouraged to volunteer their time and employ their skills in providing career counseling as well as mentorship to students of secondary schools.
'There is no doubt that the students certainly need appropriate guidance towards making the right and fulfilling career choices as a wrong career move may have long-term negative effects.'
The CEO noted that the career counseling programme was not a one-off affair but one that was designed to run continuously. He also noted that Etisalat was implementing the scheme in partnership with the Lagos Empowerment and Resource Network, a Non- Governmental Organisation founded by the wife of the Lagos State Governor, Mrs, Abimbola Fashola.
The career counseling scheme is being executed under the auspices of Etisalat Nigeria's Employee Volunteer Programme. The beneficiary school, Akande Dahunsi High School, is one of the schools the telecoms company has adopted under the Adopt-A-School Initiative of the Lagos State Government.