The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has disclosed that subscriptions for 5G services in Nigeria are growing steadily and are now at 500,000.
The Executive Vice Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta, who disclosed this at the weekend in Kano during a meeting with media executives, said this has helped boost the country’s broadband penetration.
According to him, the various efforts of the Commission to improve broadband penetration are yielding fruitful results with the current penetration estimates as of July 2023 standing at 47.01%.
Three operators including MTN, Airtel, and Mafab Communications have been licensed by the NCC to provide 5G services in Nigeria. While MTN rolled out the service in September last year, Airtel followed suit earlier this year.
Although Mafab also had a media launch of its 5G service in January this year, it is still unclear if the company has truly rolled out as its SIM or router are not available in the market like that of MTN and Airtel.
Broadband target on track
Danbatta at the meeting noted that the national target to achieve 70% broadband penetration by 2025 is receiving renewed attention from the NCC, assuring that 50 would be achieved before the end of 2023.
Highlighting his achievements since the assumption of office till date, the EVC spoke to 119 milestones achieved under the five strategic pillars, including regulatory excellence, universal broadband, market development, digital economy and strategic collaboration.
Danbatta said through the effective implementation of NCC’s mandates under his leadership and the cooperation of internal and external stakeholders since 2015, the telecommunications industry in Nigeria has achieved remarkable milestones under our leadership.
“While we acknowledge the challenges encountered by the industry, we have also witnessed explosive growth, improved regulatory standards, and digital innovations that have garnered global recognition,” he said.
While reeling out statistics that have characterized his leadership at NCC from 2015 to date, the EVC said active telephone subscribers had increased from less than 150.7 million to 218.9 million, representing a teledensity growth of 115.70% from 107.87% in 2015.
Through stimulating broadband infrastructure across the country, Danbatta said broadband penetration, which stood at 6% in 2015 has increased significantly to 47.01% as of July 2023, enhancing over 89.73 million subscriptions on 3G, 4G and 5G networks in the country.
Additionally, general Internet subscriptions have reached 159.5 million up from less than 100 million in 2015.
“Also, from an 8% contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2015, the telecommunications sector now contributes 16% quarterly to the Nigerian economy as of the second quarter of 2023. besides, following the authorization of more telecommunications companies to operate in Nigeria’s telecoms sector, the investment profile has increased tremendously from $38 billion in 2015 to $75 billion currently and this keeps growing daily.
“From the sales of Fifth Generation (5G) C-Band Spectrum, the NCC has generated over $847.8 million for the Federal Government,” he said.
Danbatta said other consumer-focused initiatives of the Commission have also centred on the establishment of Emergency Communications Centres (ECCs) in over 30 States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
All these centres are operational, as well as the creation of the Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT).
The EVC said these two initiatives have been helping consumers to get succour in times of emergencies as well as ensuring effective protection for telecom consumers while online.