Active Telephone Subscribers in Nigeria Hits 208 million

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By Adedapo Adesanya

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has disclosed that the number of active telephone subscribers in Nigeria has reached 208 million.

In addition, the teledensity, which measures the number of telephone connections for every hundred individuals living within an area, stood at 108.9 per cent while active Internet subscriptions stood at 154.9 million as the broadband penetration has reached 45.1 per cent.

According to the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Mr Umar Danbatta, the development has resulted in improved broadband/telecoms service delivery to Nigerians.

The NCC chief, while briefing the new Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, Mr Festus Yusuf Daudu, in Abuja, further noted that third-generation (3G) and fourth-generation (4G) base transceiver stations (BTS) deployment in the country have increased by 78.2 per cent to 53,460 from 30,000 while Fibre Optic Transmission cables increased to 54,725km from 47,000km in the last five years.

In the comprehensive briefing, the EVC spoke on NCC’s enabling laws, mandates of NCC, the structure of NCC, implementation approach of its mandates and methodology, key focus and targets, scorecards, the new soon-to-be-unveiled Strategic Management Vision (SVP), NCC’s contributions to the economy, various regulatory frameworks aimed at improving service delivery, challenges confronting the sector and proposed solutions, among others.

According to Mr Danbatta, the effective regulatory regime of the leadership of the commission has resulted in increased deployment of infrastructure by telecoms operators, which in turn, helped to improve broadband penetration and other related service delivery in the telecoms industry.

“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,” he said.

He added that the licensed Infrastructure Companies (InfraCos) are also expected to add 38,296 kilometres to optic fibre cables when they commence full operations.

The EVC, who also talked on various initiatives undertaken by the agency to ensure consumer protection and empowerment, listed the Declaration of 2017 as Year of the Telecom Consumer, the introduction of the 622 Toll-Free Line for lodging and resolving consumer complaints and the provision of the 112 Emergency number and activation of 19 Emergency Communications Centre (ECCs).

Other such consumer-centric regulatory measures intervention, according to the EVC, include the issuance of various directions to mobile network operators (MNOs) to protect the consumers from being short-changed, ensuring a smooth transition of Etisalat to 9Mobile, consumer outreach programmes, introduction and enforcement of mobile number portability (MNP) as well as the introduction of the Do-Not-Disturb (DND) 2442 to check cases of unsolicited text messages.

He disclosed that 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.

In recognition of the tremendous economic growth opportunities afforded by the deployment of broadband and its associated technologies, Mr Danbatta said the commission has 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 regulatory body.

“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.

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