OVER $35B INVESTMENT IN ICT SECTOR – NCC
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) on Monday stated that over $35 billion had been invested in the country’s telecommunications industry from Foreign Direct Investments (FDI).
Prof. Umar Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman of the commission, disclosed this in Lagos during a stakeholders’ forum for International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Telecom World 2016. Danbatta noted that local investments in the sector were also in billions of dollars in the past 15 years.
He pointed out that the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector had recorded significant growth, as it moved from below 500,000 active lines in the past years to the current 157 million. He said, the sector has surpassed the 100 per cent threshold for teledensity, as it stands at 107 per cent, while internet connectivity rose from 50,000 in 2001 to 97 per cent currently.
“Our story of successes is very long but we, as regulators, are not resting on our oars. We are not there yet; what we have is work in progress. We have to go to ITU Telecom World to attract more investments. ”We are here to re-strategise on how we can attract more meaningful investments into our country; we are here to fine-tune our story about the growth and attraction of our sector.
”We are here to think of ways to convince would-be investors on the potential and capacity of our country; we are here to agree on the future growth of the telecom industry,” he maintained.
He added that there was the need to tell the world of the revolution brewing in the area of broadband.
Danbatta said that the country was currently at 14 percent broadband penetration and over 100 percent thirst for the internet, adding that the industry is convinced that, by 2018, the anticipated 30 per cent broadband penetration will not be impossible to achieve.
He said that Bitflux Consortium, the winner of the 2.3 Gigahertz spectrum, had rolled out services toward achieving the broadband penetration target. ”Two Infrastructure Companies (Infracos) have been licenced for Lagos and North-Central, including Abuja.
”Five more licences are underway for North-West, North-East, South-West, South-South and South- East. Our processes are being fine-tuned to actualise the licensing rounds.
”There is a gap, no doubt, which these would-be and existing investors will bridge. The quality of service is not robust yet, but we are assured that we will get it right with more investments,” Danbatta noted.
Mr Austin Nwaulune, the Chairman of the Local Organising Committee for the ITU Telecom World 2016, said that the event would take place in Bangkok from Nov. 14 to Nov.17. Nwaulune said that the world event would have the theme “Collaborating in the Digital Economy’’.
He, added that Nigeria would adopt its own theme as “Smart Communities: The Key to a Digital Nigeria’’. He stressed that ITU Telecom World is a global forum hosted annually by the ITU to bring together thought leaders, key decision makers, industry players and ministers, among others, to discuss the growth of ICT.