BY DELE OGBODO
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has acknowledged that cumulative investments in Nigeria telecommunications sector has continued to grow in leaps and bounds hitting more than $70 billion in 2020.
In a holistic review of the sector, while benchmarking on the Commission’s regulatory activities in 2020, NCC said the combined official telecom industry contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased to over 14.30% as at the second Quarter of 2020.
This however according to data obtained from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). In financial value, the 14.30% translates to N2.272 trillion in Q2, 2020, adding: “Whereas, telecoms contribution as at December 2019 was 10.60%. Also, telecoms investment continued to grow in leaps and bounds in 2020 beyond $70 billion.”
On voice, NCC explained that active mobile voice subscribers increased from 184 million in December, 2019 to 208 million by October, 2020, noting that this represents an additional 24 million active mobile lines accessed by Nigerians across mobile networks from December, 2019 to October, 2020.
“Accordingly, teledensity (the total number of telephone lines per hundred people in an area) increased from 96.76% in December, 2019 to 108.94% by October, 2020.
“NCC’s regulatory activities also resulted in increased connectivity in the country. From, 126 million in December, 2019, Internet subscriptions rose impressively 152.9 million as of October, 2020. In the same vein, broadband (i.e. high-speed Internet) penetration maintained an upward swing to 45.93% in October, 2020, up from 37.80% in 2019.
“Mobile Number Portability (MNP) service continued to offer wider options of service for telecoms consumers in 2020. In the year under review, 158,128 telecom consumers ported their lines between January-October, 2020, as against over 120,000 lines that were ported in 2019. The increase in MNP service usage is due to increased public education and awareness by the Commission’s head office and its zonal offices, as they intensified awareness on the availability, usage and benefits of MNP across geo-political zones.” It added.
The commission stressed that mobile number portability is a service introduced by NCC on mobile networks which allows telecoms consumers to switch from their current network to another preferred network, without changing their mobile number, when they feel a need to do so.
On lingering subscribers’ complaints over poor quality service, the commission said it was able to successfully resolve over 98% of the total consumer complaints received from telecoms consumers via the NCC Toll-Free Number 622, NCC Consumer Portal, social media platforms and written complaints.
Subscriptions by telecoms consumers to the NCC’s Do-Not-Disturb (DND) 2442 service reached over 30 million in 2020 compared with 22 million in 2019, the commission added.
According to the industry regulator, activities in sector in the year under review has been an eventful year with a lot of landmark regulatory initiatives by the Commission. The policies, programmes and activities of the Commission have further positively impacted the upward trajectory of the digital ecosystem in the year under review, it stressed.
NCC admitted that the sector in 2020 came with a lot of challenges but the it continue to record significant growth, adding that the impressive performance was made possible through effective regulatory initiatives emplaced by the telecoms regulator, under the leadership the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, was despite the apparent economic recession and headwinds occasioned by the global outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic and its attendant lockdowns, especially in Nigeria.