Nigeria to be the spearhead for Africa’s telecoms expansion?

3 Feb 2004

The recent African Telecom Summit which closed at the weekend in Johannesburg predicts that Nigeria will be the hotbed of telecoms expansion on the continent thanks to factors such as its large population, culture of positive industry reform and its vast appetite for internal and external investment. In the last two years the country has benefited from funding to the tune of USD4 billion, which has seen the number of new telephone lines in the country soaring to over three million by the start of 2004. At that date there were an estimated 850,000 fixed lines in service, compared with 702,000 the previous year, while mobile connections reached 3.1 million from 1.595 million. Moreover, the number of fixed line operators in the market had grown from 16 to 30, four wireless players, two of which were offering nationwide services, and the number of ISPs had risen by five to 35. Ernest Ndukwe, head of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), says efforts to foster competition in all sectors of the industry, including the new Telecoms Law which came into effect last year and the decision to license new regional fixed wireless access (FWA) operators to improve access to rural parts of the country, will help drive future growth.