In anticipation of a possible economic lockdown in Nigeria, in response to the rampaging Coronavirus pandemic, Covid-19, telecom operators through their umbrella body, Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), has held an emergency meeting and listed conditions that would help them provide hitch-free service throughout the period the pandemic will last.
Chairman of ALTON, Gbenga Adebayo who gave a rundown of the conditions, said Nigerian government may likely declare partial or complete lockdown of its economy, like other economies of the world.
He said in anticipation of a possible lockdown ALTON has made recommendations to the telecoms regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the federal and state governments on how best to ensure hitch-free telecoms services throughout the period of the Coronavirus outbreak.
The meeting which was attended by the Head, Corporate and Regulatory Services, Smile Communications, Mr. Thomas Gbolahan, among top executives of other telcos, made suggestions and recommendations, which formed part of the communique that was released after the meeting.
In the communique, members agreed that all telcos must increase their network capacities to enable them provide quality service throughout the period of Coronavirus.
It was recommended that the industry regulator, the NCC, should facilitate the process of getting approval for Right of Passage (RoP) for all telecoms operators, from the federal and state governments, to allow for easy movement, should there be a partial or total lockdown of the economy as a result of Coronavirus.
Members also recommended that NCC should facilitate the process of Right of Passage (RoP) for logistics companies that are involved in supplies of goods and services to telecoms operators.
According to the communique, telcos must also support government through their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives, to provide safety materials that will protect the public against Coronavirus effect.
They also suggested the need to sensitize the public about safety tips on Coronavirus in different languages, through the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and other channels.
ALTON recommended that the government should establish a front desk at all Emergency Communication Centres (ECC), to provide information about Coronavirus.
Members equally urged NCC to seek support from law enforcement agents to protect telecoms facilities throughout the period of Coronavirus outbreak. NCC should also consider stepping down Number Portability during the period of the Coronavirus outbreak in order to reduce pressure on networks when subscribers tend to migrate from one network to another.
Members suggested that NCC should call on government agencies to put a stop to all government orders, directing the closure of telecoms sites, to enable the proper management of telecoms sites throughout the period of the outbreak.
According to the communique, it was agreed that NCC and the state government should reduce the frequency of physical meetings all through the period of the Coronavirus outbreak and deploy alternative meeting platforms, in order to reduce the risk of contacting the Coronavirus during travels for meetings.
In the area of network sharing, the communique stated that members agreed that telecoms operators should collaborate to share resources among themselves in times of difficulties throughout the period that the Coronavirus will last.