Why data, voice calls may be costlier in 2020

By Isa Amodu

There are strong indications that Subscribers in the country may pay more for data and voice call services as 14 state governments have increased the cost of right of way (RoW) for telecommunication infrastructure.

The increase comes 72 hours after Isa Pantami, the minister of telecommunications and digital economy, said he has notified state governors to comply with the national economic council’s (NEC) resolution on the Right of Way.

The states which hiked the levy are Lagos, Kano, Anambra, Ondo, Cross River, Kogi, Osun, Kaduna, Enugu, Adamawa, Ebonyi, Imo, Kebbi and Gombe.

The RoW charge is the levy paid to state governments for laying of optic fibre on state roads.

At present, the cost of RoW on federal roads is N142 per linear metre.

The fourteen states, however, increased RoW fees from between N300-N500 per linear metre to between N3,000-N6,000 per linear metre.

The new management of the Lagos state infrastructure maintenance and regulatory agency (LASIMRA) increased RoW fee from N500 per linear meter to N5,000 per linear metre.

A single telecoms operator needs RoW covering thousands of kilometres.

In separate interviews with THISDAY, the operators said they had envisaged heavy surge during the festive seasons and had long requested for RoW licence that would enable them to expand their networks by laying more broadband fibre optic cables.

They, however, stated that their request was rejected by the various government agencies, forcing them to maintain the available network that is not sufficient to manage the peak periods.