Communique On Telecom Executives and Regulators Forum 2023

The 2023 Telecom Executives and Regulators Forum (TERF 2023) was organized by the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) on Thursday September 7, 2023 at the Lagos Oriental Hotel, located at No 3 Lekki-Epe Express Way, Victoria Island, Lagos from 9am to 3pm.

The 2023 Telecom Executives and Regulators Forum is an industry programme that brings together, industry players and regulators to address burning industry issues, with a view to proffering solutions to the identified challenges. This year’s forum has the theme: ‘Success Factors and Barriers To National Broadband And Digital Economy Aspirations.’


The objectives of the 2023 Telecom Executives and Regulators Forum are as follows:

a. Assess the level of national broadband deployment and penetration.

b. Highlight the success factors of national broadband deployment.

c. Identify the barriers to national broadband deployment.

d. Identify other challenges inhibiting growth of ICT sector.

e. Proffer solutions to identified sector challenges.

f. Articulate the identified challenges.

g. Present the articulated challenges in the form of a communique to the appropriate authorities.

The forum was sponsored by industry stakeholders such as the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Nigeria Data Protection Commission (NDPC), National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Nigeria Communications Satellite Limited (NIGCOMSAT) Internet Xchange Point of Nigeria (IXPN), Liquid Intelligent Technologies (LIT), Open Access Data Centres, MainOne, VDT, Pan African Towers, Galaxy Backbone, FibreOne Broadband Limited, RackCentre, among others.

The 2023 Telecom Executives and Regulators Forum, commenced with the National Anthem and a welcome address delivered by ATCON President, Mr. Tony Izuagbe Emoekpere. There were goodwill messages delivered by industry stakeholders. The forum had three panel sessions that were chaired by seasoned ICT professionals and each panel session had panelists who are technocrats and experts in the ICT sector. Each panel session discussed extensively, the topics assigned to them, with contributions from the well-attended audience.

The first panel session, chaired by the Regional Business Head and General Counsel, MainOne, an Equinix Company, Mr. Abayomi Adebanjo, discussed the ‘Impact of Data Protection Policy on the Development of the Nigerian Digital Economy’.

The second panel session, chaired by the Managing Director/CEO, Internet Xchange Point of Nigeria (IXPN), Mr. Muhammed Rudman, discussed the theme: ‘Critical National Infrastructure Policy as a Strategic Tool for Attracting Rapid Investment’.

The third panel session, chaired by the Group Managing Director, VDT Communications, Mr. Biodun Omoniyi, discussed the theme: ‘Challenges of Universal Broadband And Digital Services in Nigeria-Empowering Industry SMEs’.


After extensive deliberations by all three panels, the following resolutions were arrived at:

  1. Stakeholders stressed the need for regulatory independence of the telecoms industry regulator
  2. Participants were of the view that the initial five per cent excise duty on telecoms operations was an additional levy to the 46 existing multiple taxes imposed on telecoms operations by government at various levels, and called for the total removal of the five per cent excise duty instead of the current suspension order.
  3. Nigeria will surpass the 70 per cent broadband penetration target by 2025, just the same way it surpassed its 30 per cent broadband penetration target in December 2018.
  4. Telecoms’ Sector contribution to the nation’s GDP increased significantly to 16 per cent in the second quarter of 2023.
  5. Denial to Right of Way (RoW) by some state governments has become a barrier to broadband deployment in the country.
  6. Willful destruction of telecoms facilities and multiple taxes are setbacks to telecoms growth.
  7. Data identity and data protection are key in the development of any digital economy.
  8. The value of global digital data economy as at 2021 was $14.5 trillion and it is projected to reach N20.8 trillion by 2025.
  9. Participants stressed the need for proper regulation of data processing and usage in the country, in order to beef up security around data and to protect the privacy of data.
  10. Participants called for scalability and more investment in data infrastructure to support cloud connectivity.
  11. The regulator should be mindful not to stifle technology growth in the course of regulating the industry and should therefore avoid over-regulation.
  12. Participants advised NDPC to harmonise its operations with the European Union (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
  13. Africa should have a standard data regulation policy that will harmonize all data policies and regulations across African countries, to enable cross-border trade among African countries.
  14. ‘Ease of Doing Business’ can be achieved through the implementation of Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) policy as a strategic tool for attracting investment
  15. Telecom Infrastructure must be declared as Critical National Infrastructure.
  16. The panelists were of the view that if the entire critical national infrastructure is vandalized, it will not only affect the telecoms sector, but also affect other sectors of the Nigerian economy.
  17. Panelists suggested that surveillance, awareness and enforcement of penalties, will go a long way in addressing the issue of destruction of critical national infrastructure.
  18. Participants stressed the need for infrastructure sharing among Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to boost universal broadband access.
  19. They called for the removal of Right of Way (RoW) charges to enable MNOs open up network expansion and broadband access.
  20. The need to protect telecoms infrastructure and declare it as critical national infrastructure, was stressed by participants.
  21. They called for unhindered access to ubiquitous broadband services for SMEs at no cost.
  22. Participants called for urgent deployment of Aerial Fibre cable across the country to avoid willful destruction of fibre and unintended destruction of fibre cables during road construction.
  23. They suggested the creation of community network that will create value among SMEs.
  24. Participants called on NCC set up inter-regulatory corporative department that will address access to infrastructure and broadband for SMEs.
  25. They called for Public-Private sector collaboration to drive incentives for Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs.)
  26. Participants called on government to create enabling environment that will attract local and foreign investments in the Nigerian ICT sector. They also called on NCC to collaborate with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the African Development Bank (AfDB), to fund commercially viable projects that will enhance national development.


At the end of the forum, participants recommended continuous digital literacy training for SMEs in order to empower them in today’s digital era. They advised on strong collaboration between regulators and stakeholders in the ICT industry. Participants also recommended the development of more technology solutions that will address the myriad of challenges in the ICT sector, and strongly advised on the need to make TERF an annual forum for addressing issues in the ICT sector.