The Chief Executive Officer of MTN Nigeria, Karl Toriola, has emphasized the high cost of mobile phones as a barrier to digital inclusion in Nigeria.
Toriola mentioned this during a recent interview with Arise TV. According to him, while worldwide demand has resulted in a decrease in smartphone costs, Nigeria alone may not generate enough demand to drive down prices as quickly.
He claimed that local assembly may lower production costs and cut customs charges, making smartphones more inexpensive. Toriola also emphasized the importance of working with regulators.
He said, “MTN is actively working with the Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, Dr. Bosun Tijani, as well as regulatory authorities to address the issue of device affordability and promote digital inclusion in Nigeria.”
Speaking about financing as a solution, the MTN CEO emphasized the relevance of citizens’ aggregate credit score history while financing their mobile handsets.
“There are several companies in Africa that are working on that in partnership with us, and while it may take a bit of time for that momentum to be built, our mobile money PSB – MoMo will enable us to predict behavioural patterns and credit worthiness,” he said.
By working on these technologies, he said MTN intends to make cellphones available to a bigger audience, allowing people to pay for their devices responsibly over an extended period.
Speaking about the interconnect debt issue with Globacom, Toriola stated that the technology company is following regulatory advice to fix the situation.
“It suffices to say that we have the most developed regulatory agencies, the NCC and the CBN, who arbitrate on such problems, and whatever we do in that dispute or discourse will be in accordance with what the NCC recommends.”
Recall that on January 8, 2024, the NCC issued a pre-disconnection notice informing subscribers of MTN Nigeria Communications Plc’s approval to begin the phased disconnection of Globacom Limited on January 18, 2024, as a result of the parties’ long-standing interconnection debt dispute.
While investigating industry dynamics and the company’s origins, he reiterated that the ICT company is entirely Nigerian.
“We are a Nigerian corporation registered in Nigeria, with Nigerian stockholders. If you look at our leadership team, you’ll notice that Nigerians make up 90% of the top leadership positions, and I don’t believe we have more than 10 expatriates in this company.