Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) said on Thursday that the number of active telephone subscribers across the country has risen to 208 million, in the latest data indicating continuous month-on-month growth in the telecom industry.
NCC’s Executive Vice Chairman, Umar Danbatta, was at a briefing for the new Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, Festus Daudu, on the functions and regulatory activities of the commission, when the achievement was announced. Danbatta through the commission disclosed this among other developments in the telecom industry.
“As at November 2020, active telephony subscribers stood at 208 million with teledensity standing at 108.92 per cent while active internet subscriptions were 154.9 million and a broadband penetration of 45.07 per cent, among others,” he said.
The EVC said that third generation (3G) and fourth generation (4G) base transceiver stations deployment in Nigeria had increased from 30,000 to 53,460. He added that fibre optic transmission cables expanded from 47,000km to 54,725km in the last five years, resulting in improved broadband/telecoms service delivery to Nigerians.
“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, adding that the licensed Infrastructure Companies (InfraCos) are also expected to add 38,296km to optic fibre cables when they commence full operations.
Before the latest figures announced by the NCC, industry operators had put the number of telephone subscribers in Nigeria at about 207 million.
Danbatta said the commission had introduced various interventions such as the issuance of directives to mobile network operators to protect consumers from being shortchanged. According to him, they include the declaration of 2017 as year of the Telecom Line for lodging and resolving consumer complaints and the provision of the 112 Emergency number and activation of 19 emergency Communications Centers (ECCs) across the country.
Others include the enforcement of mobile number portability as well as the introduction of the Do-Not-Disturb 2442 to check cases of unsolicited text messages, and issuance of various directions to protect the consumers from being short-changed, ensuring smooth transition of Etisalat to 9Mobile, and enforcement of mobile number portability.
He said the number of subscriptions to DND service had hit over 30 million as the service empowered Nigerians to be able to protect themselves from the menace of unsolicited text messages.
Danbatta promised that the commission will do more to ensure that the telecom industry attain greater heights that will contribute to the growth of the economy.
“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.
Speaking on the progress, the new permanent secretary said the contribution of the telecoms sector to the country’s Gross Domestic Product had been impressive.
Daudu, however, urged the commission to increase its collaboration and teamwork with the communications ministry, other agencies and industry stakeholders towards achieving the Federal Government’s objective of a digital economy.
“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 said.
The Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS)’ Q3 report listed the telecom industry among the top six contributors to the Nigerian economy. The order of contribution to GDP is as follows: Agriculture 30.77%, Trade 13.88%, Info & Communication 13.47%, Manufacturing 8.93%, Mining & Quarrying 8.91% and Real Estate 5.58%.