Nigeria’s towers on third and fourth-generation mobile technologies otherwise known as 3G and 4G respectively, including optical fibre networks, have grown in the last five years, the telecoms regulator says.
Within the last five years, 3G and 4G base deployment in Nigeria has increased from 30,000 to 53,460 to boost the nation’s transmission capacity for delivery of broadband and telecoms services, Professor Umar Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) disclosed in a statement by the telecoms regulator.
Fibre Optic Transmission cables also expanded from 47,000km to 54,725km within the period expanding their lightning speed transmission capacity across Nigeria.
“The BTS, fibre optic cables and other related infrastructure are central to the provision of improved service experience for Nigerians by their respective telecoms service providers,” Danbatta was quoted to have told Engr. Festus Yusuf Daudu, new Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, when the latter visited NCC.
The Infrastructure Companies (InfraCos) issued licences by NCC are also expected to add 38,296km to optic fibre cables when they commence full operations, Danbatta says.
By November 2020, Nigeria’s “active telephony subscribers stood at 208 million with teledensity standing at 108.92% while active Internet subscriptions were 154.9 million and a broadband penetration of 45.07%.”
NCC has taken initiatives to ensure consumer protection and empowerment including the Declaration of 2017 as Year of the Telecom Consumer; introduction of the 622 Toll-Free Line for lodging; provision of the 112 Emergency number and activation of 19 Emergency Communications Centre (ECCs).
The telecoms regulator has also issued “various directions to mobile network operators (MNOs) to protect the consumers from being short-changed, ensuring smooth transition of Etisalat to 9Mobile, consumer outreach programmes, introduction and enforcement of mobile number portability (MNP) as well as introduction of the Do-Not-Disturb (DND) 2442 to check cases of unsolicited text messages”, according to Danbatta.
So far, “the number of subscriptions to DND service has hit over 30 million as the service empowers Nigerians to be able to protect themselves from the menace of unsolicited text messages.”
NCC has also positioned itself in government’s drive for a Digital Nigeria, as contained in the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (2020 – 2025), the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (2020 – 2030) and the Strategic Management Plan (2020 – 2024) of the Commission, in recognition of the economic growth opportunities provided by rollout of broadband and allied technologies, the agency’s chief says.
“The Commission will continue to put in its best in the discharge of its mandates, especially in facilitating the deployment of broadband, which is central to diversifying the Nigerian economy and national development. Also, it is our belief that the communications industry, under the leadership of the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, will experience more quantum leaps and retain its current leadership role in the telecommunications space,” he said.
While responding, the Perm. Sec. commended the leadership of the Commission, acknowledging the upward growth attributed to the effective regulatory regime, the central role NCC is playing in the digital transformation of the Nigerian economy as well as the impressive contribution of the sector to the country’s Gross Domestic (GDP).
“I want to thank NCC for its contribution to the Nigerian economy so far. I am not exaggerating about the achievements of NCC, in terms of contribution to GDP and how NCC’s effective regulatory role has been helping the economy in so many ways,” he says while adding that NCC leadership also contributed to his success as the Chairman of the World Radio Conference in 2015.
He urged NCC to foster increased collaboration and teamwork with the Ministry, other agencies and industry stakeholders towards achieving the Federal Government’s objective of a digital economy while promising to support the Commission in whatever ways possible towards achieving its regulatory mandates.