Africa’s largest telecom market, the Nigerian telecom industry, has been tipped for increased foreign investments. a study by BuddeComm, a telecommunications research organisation, has shown.
This comes on the heels of government’s pledge to deploy 18,000km of fibre to extend broadband to rural areas.
According to the study,”given the potential for further growth, Nigeria’s telecom sector attracts considerable foreign investment.”
It also notes that market liberalisation measures in recent years have led to hundreds of companies, many of them small and localised, being set up to provide a range of telecom and value-added services.
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Market competition and wider deployment of LTE (Long Term Evolution) technologies have in no small way boosted the sector, it noted.
“The mobile sector has benefited from market competition and the wider deployment of LTE technologies, which have in turn supported operator revenue growth and encouraged the adoption of mobile broadband among subscribers,” the study states.
Other than the key mobile network operators, there are a number of additional players operating under a unified licensing regime.
The free market initiative introduced by the regulatory agency, is bound to also increase competitiveness and efficiency among players in the industry.
The government has continued with its plan to increase broadband penetration to 30 percent by 2018 and to increase mobile broadband
penetration to 50 percent by 2020. To this end, the regulator is looking to auction additional spectrum in the 700MHz and 2.3GHz bands.
The competitive fixed-line market includes a second national operator (Globacom) and over 80 other licensed companies. The alternative carriers combined provide around 85 percent of all fixed connections, though in general terms about 80 percent of all connections are wireless.
Nigeria’s broadband sector has seen considerable consolidation among players, from over 400 internet service providers (ISPs) in 2012 to
fewer than 90 by early 2018. Most internet connections are via mobile networks, principally GSM and 3G and more recently LTE, though there are a number of worldwide interoperability for microwave access (WiMAX) operators which have found niche markets, the study notes.
Supported by Nigeria, the largest economy on the continent, Nigeria has Africa’s largest mobile market, with about 142 million subscribers and a penetration rate of 101 percent. The number of subscribers fell in 2017 as consumers responded to a poor economic climate, adopted other over-the-top (OTT) channels for voice and data services, and as regulatory measures continued to oblige operators to disconnect unregistered SIM cards.