Foreign capital investment into the telecoms industry rose by $659.03m between 2016 and 2018, representing a 70.8 per cent increase in capital inflow into the sector.
In 2016, the telecom sector aggregate investment was valued at $931.2m, analysis of data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed.
The sector had the second highest investment in the country after the banking sector, which had $932.51m.
In the first quarter of 2016, a sum of $13.44m was invested in the sector; $118.71m in the second quarter; $244.8m in the third quarter and $554.25m in the fourth quarter of the year.
In 2017, the total capital investment in the telecom industry was $544.6m, falling into fourth place after the services, production and banking sectors.
Analysis of the NBS data indicated that the capital inflow rose to $1.48bn from 2016 to 2017, recording 58.5 per cent increase. In Q1 of 2017, investors pitched $145.78m into the telecom sector; $174.18m in Q2; $33.68m in Q3 and $191.01m in Q4.
The year 2018 saw investors back the telecom sector with $114.43m, the lowest annual investment in the sector in more than five years.
Services, production, financing and banking sectors attracted more investment than the telecoms in 2018.
According to NBS statistics, in the first quarter of 2018, investors pitched $87.25m in the telecom sector, $11.12m in Q2; $11.42m in Q3 and $4.64m in Q4.
By the end of 2018, the NBS data showed that investment in the telecom sectors had risen to $1.59bn from 2016 to 2018, representing 70.8 per cent improvement from the 2016 figures.
Industry analysts said the bulk of the investment in the sector went into the procurement of equipment, which was not readily available in the country.
According to them, the telecom industry is highly dependent on infrastructure that needs to be upgraded regularly in line with changing technologies.
Olusola Teniola, the president, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria, explained that during periods when the sector experienced mergers, acquisition, and consolidation, there was huge capital inflow into the country.
“During the roll out of networks, mergers and acquisition and consolidation phases in the market, the value of foreign currency inflow into the economy reflects the actual importation required to acquire equipment,” he said.
The latest capital importation report by the NBS showed that the sector received a capital injection of $884.85m between July and cf this year.
The third quarter of this year recorded the highest quarterly investment the sector had seen in the past four years.
Wole Abu, the Chief executive officer, Pan Atlantic Towers, said long-term finance was the best form of funding for telecom business but added that this type of finance was not available in the country.