🏆Telecoms Sub-Sector Laments N221bn Lost In Two YearsValue Added Service (VAS) operators, a sub-sector in the telecoms industry, operating under the aegis of Wireless Application Service Providers Association of Nigeria (WASPAN), has decried the heavy loss it incurred in the last two years, amounting to N221 billion.
WASPAN National Coordinator, Mr. Chijioke Ezeh, who raised the concern at the First Annual Nigeria Value Added Service Stakeholders’ Forum, organised by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in Lagos recently, said as at 2017, the VAS industry was valued at N300 billion, but that today the value has depreciated to N79 billion, which is between 75 per cent to 78 per cent loss in revenue within a space of two years.
Confirming the huge financial loss, NCC Director, Technical Standards and Network Integrity, Bako Wakil, said the commission was already working hard to revamp the sub-sector.
Wakil, who attributed the loss to the introduction of Do Not Disturb (DND) through the 2442 short code by the NCC in 2017, said NCC’s intention for introducing DND was not to kill the VAS industry, but to protect telecoms subscribers from getting unsolicited text messages and advertisement from VAS providers, who were busy deducting money from millions of telecoms subscribers as soon as they forcefully push the unsolicited messages to them, without their consent.
According to him, “Two years ago, the VAS industry worth over N300 billion, but the figure we got today shows it has dropped to N79 billion, which shows it is declining in value, but this is because of the introduction of the DND.
“The intention was not to bring down the market or the performance of this sector of the economy, but to regulate it as an industry regulator.
“Our concern is more on the consumers and Nigerian consumers were crying about the kind of money they were losing to DND without their consent. So, we have to address the needs of the consumer, even though this has affected investment in that sector, but then at the end of the day, the consumer is the king.
“NCC had to introduce the DND short code to stop the messages. If the subscriber does not want such messages, all the subscriber need do, is to subscribe to the short code, and the messages will automatically stop,” he said.
But in a quick response, Ezeh said: “The decline in value is not just as a result of the introduction of DND, but a combination of factors. The embargo on the marketing, and then the introduction of DND, were the factors responsible for the decline in the value of the VAS sector from N300 billion in 2017 to N79 billion in 2019.”
He explained that cutting off bulk of subscribers from subscribing to messages from VAS providers through the introduction of DND short code and also the clamping down on VAS marketing by the NCC, were the key factors that led to the decline in value of VAS in the last two years.