By Prince Osuagwu
SINCE 2001 when Digital Mobile Licences, DLI, were issued by Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, Nigeria has witnessed multiplier effects in social and economic development.
Telecommunications services are now available to everyone unlike the pre-GSM era when only 500,000 lines were available to a population of nearly 90 million from an investment profile of about $50m.
Teledensity was about 0.01 percent and internet connectivity was a nightmare. Fortunately, the story has since changed, owing to DLI.
150 million subscribers: At present, there are over 150 million active subscribers, internet connections are over 90 milion, teledensity is well over 100 percent. There is over $80bn invested in the sector so far with over 70 percent of it as Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
However, the country still needs more. By the National Broadband Plan, NBP (2013 – 2018) the country is expected to attain 30 percent broadband penetration by 2018, which currently stands at 21 percent.
Meanwhile, the huge capacity of broadband network in Nigeria, resides mainly in the urban cities while the hinterlands suffer from paucity to outright non availability of access.
Even at that, while countries like the United Kingdom are enjoying mobile broadband connection speed of up to 23.7 mega bytes per second, Nigeria fluctuates between 3-3.1 mega bytes per second speed which does not encourage robust internet exploration by users. That is unfortunately when fellow African countries like Egypt and South Africa are not even comfortable with their respective 8.0 and 5.0 MBPS broadband connection speeds.
Against the reality that globally, broadband is the new business in the technology sector, it is just a matter of time for these numbers and indeed the country’s current achievements to be dwarfed, if not totally swarmed by the huge revenues expected to accrue from broadband investment for countries that are proactive in marketing.
Interestingly, Nigeria has decided to take a proactive step towards competing in the global broadband market. Recently the government constituted a delegation to be led by the minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, to this year’s International Telecommunications Union, ITU Telecom World conference in Busan, South Korea, to showcase the potential of the country’s broadband market.
The ITU Telecom World is a global platform for major industry players, small and medium enterprises, countries and organisations to network and share ideas about new developments and technologies that would lead to better connected societies.
ITU Telecom World: It is an event for international visibility for innovative ICT products and services, as well as solutions from around the world. It involves high level debates on the core issues affecting ICT industries, sharing knowledge and working for sustainable development.
The Nigerian delegation which consists of Chairman of the Board of Commissioners of NCC, Senator Olabiyi Durojaiye, Chief Regulator and Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta as well as key industry leaders and players, will host an investment forum at ITU Telecom World 2017 and broadband Nigeria will be the focus of discussions.
The team is to present the narrative that Nigeria’s robust telecommunications regulatory environment guarantees Returns on Investment, ROI, as well as renews investors’ confidence in the fast growing sector.
Although Nigeria has had a very robust telecommunications sector with active connected subscribers in the region of 150million and about 110 percent teledensity, the NCC believes that more efforts should be deployed to deepen broadband penetration.