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Network operators give West Africa thumbs up

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Major network and telecommunications operators outlined their plans for expanding in Africa at yesterday's West & Central Africa Com, the region's annual event for communications professionals. 

Christian de Faria, executive vice-president for West & Central Africa at MTN Group, said the group sees that region as one of the main places to invest.
However, he sounded a cautionary note: "MTN will only invest in  countries where the licensing process is transparent", as well as in market where there is a reasonable level of competition.
He added that MTN welcomes  competition, if it is on a level playing field.
Zain Group/Celtel was  represented by Osondu C Nwokoro from Nigeria, who said the group's strategy was based on a triple approach of technological enhancement, social engineering and product development differentiation.
Etisalat group, a growing force in the region, discussed its plans to expand their presence in Africa without, however, disclosing the date of its launch in Nigeria. Quality of service was one of the recurring themes of the discussions, with all operators insisting it was one of their priorities.
They indicated that they were investing heavily to improve their networks, as well as working on network sharing initiatives.
The subject was addressed in the keynote panel discussion which gathered representatives of leading operators Celtel and MTN, as well as Ijeoma Echeruo, representing the Nigerian Senate's Committee on Communications. The lively debate addressed the respective roles of the regulators, government and operators in improving communications services for Nigeria's market.