26 November 2012

Nigeria's Telecoms Sector Is Africa's Reference Point, Says NCC

Following recorded achievements in the Nigerian telecoms sector since the inception of Global System for Mobile (GSM) Communications, the Nigerian Communications Commission has said that country's telecoms industry has become the reference point in Africa's telecoms sector.

Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Dr. Eugene Juwah who gave the hint recently, said the commission received letters from some African countries, seeking for mutual relationship with Nigeria, to enable them visit the country and understudy its telecoms regulatory policies and policy implementation.

According to Juwah, the recorded achievements in the Nigerian telecoms sector, positioned Nigeria to lead the African continent, which currently has over 750 million telecoms subscribers, that is estimated to hit one billion mobile subscriptions mark by 2015.

Making reference to the statistics released by the London based Informa Telecoms and Media at the just concluded 15th edition of AfricaCom Conference in Cape Town, South Africa, Juwah said he was confident that Nigeria would truly lead Africa and the world mobile subscriptions.

According to the statistics, Nigeria and indeed Africa have the world's second biggest mobile market region by subscription count, behind Asia-Pacific but ahead of Latin America, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, North America and the Middle East.

The statistical report said Nigeria, which crossed the 100 million mobile subscriptions threshold in the second quarter of 2012, would continue to be Africa's biggest mobile market and is projected to have 168.9 million subscriptions at the end of 2017, followed by Egypt with 129.4 million subscriptions.

Telecoms analysts, while appreciating the huge investments profile of various operators in the continent, however argued on the need for players to increase their investment and expand their network capacities, especially in a large market such as Nigeria, to be able to meet the increasing surge in mobile connections on the continent.

"Nigeria is still beset with the issue of poor quality of service. The deteriorating telecoms service has made it pretty difficult to make smooth calls across networks or even within the same networks, as subscribers are faced with the challenges of dropped calls, call diversion, weak call signals to activate calls, poor voice clarity, delay in SMS delivery, among others," analysts said.

They blamed the increasing poor services on several factors, which include limited expansion capacity of the operators and chiefly regular promos by the operators which put more pressure on their limited capacity.

In order to salvage the situation and maintain the confidence reposed on the Nigerian telecoms industry, by the African continent and the rest of the world, the NCC, penultimate week, banned all telecoms promos and lotteries, making it the first African country to take such decision.

The NCC had through its Director of Public Affairs, Mr. Tony Ojobo issued a statement banning on telecoms promotions and lotteries, stressing that in recent times, it had been inundated with several complaints from consumers and industry stakeholders against the various promotions offered by telecommunications operators in the country, which seems to be congesting the networks.

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