By Prince Osuagwu
Special Government Adviser to GSM Africa, GSMA, Mr Ross Bateson has declared that with such limited existing fixed line infrastructure, Mobile Broadband remains the most flexible, feasible and cost effective means to deliver internet connectivity across rural and urban areas of Nigeria.
This is as he described Nigeria as a major growth area for mobile broadband deployment, signaling a ready market for prospective investors in that technological field.
Bateson who was speaking at the recent concluded AfricaCom event in Lagos Nigeria, said that connectivity is essential to the growth of business in Nigeria.
He noted that HSPA Mobile Broadband technology is set for aggressive growth in Nigeria with current connections expected to increase tenfold to more than seven million over the next three years, adding that its supporting GSM ecosystem will continue to deliver unrivaled economies of scale and technological capabilities including clear upgrade paths to more advanced technologies like HSPA+ and LTE.
According to him, “Mobile Broadband has built good momentum across Africa, with over 7 million HSPA connections across the continent and an additional 440,000 being added every month, according to Wireless Intelligence.
“There are currently 29 HSPA networks in Africa, two of which are HSPA+, with a further five being planned, and there are four planned LTE networks (Safaricom in Kenya, MTN Cell-C and Vodacom in South Africa”.
He however warned that Mobile Broadband has proved most successful in Africa where transparent, non-intrusive regulation has been put in place to allow competition between operators.
“It is vital in an area where fixed broadband infrastructure is generally low, that governments and regulators give sufficient access to spectrum to meet demand”.
Bateson said specifically that “Mobile Broadband is fundamental to the Nigerian population in delivering internet connectivity.
“Nigeria is typical of other African countries in terms of its Mobile Broadband landscape”
Inhis calculation,Nigeria has 140 million people; 51% reside in rural areas not served by poor existing fixed line infrastructure
But he also highlighted on the growth potentials of HSPA in Nigeria, revealing that at least, three Nigerian operators currently deploy HSPA including Globacom, MTN and Zain which has been bought over by Bharti Airtel.