Sunday March 26, 2023

News & Headlines

Check here for the latest news and headlines of what's going on in the Nigerian telecommunications industry and the activities of the Nigerian Communications Commission

Mr. Tony Ojobo, the quintessential public relations guru in charge of public affairs of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), describes it as "remarkable shift" in the history of the leadership of the regulatory body. It's, undoubtedly, not the kind of testimony that you often hear from the mouths of consummate public servants like Ojobo. Yet, there's so far been a notable consensus on Professor Umar Garba Danbatta's one year at the helm of affairs of the NCC. It's gratifyingly positive. And, it bodes well for the future of the industry.

From the Director-General of Consumer Protection Council (CPC), Mrs. Dupe Atoki, who once commended the NCC boss for "ensuring that impunity in telecom sector is beginning to be a thing of the past", to the revered Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, who gave him a pat on the back for "already changing the landscape of the nation's telecom regulation for the better", there has never been shortage of approval for Danbatta's leadership at the Commission.

That telecommunications services have gained traction in Nigeria can only be evidenced by the encouraging figures coming out of the industry. Apart from the monthly reports of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) which put subscription figures at 226,426,215 connected lines for the month of July, 2016, 150,262,066 active lines, 92,181,178 internet subscribers and a teledensity of 107.33% within the same period, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) also recently ascribed huge growth rate to the sector.

According to the NBS figures, the telecommunications sector of the Nigerian economy contributed N1.580 trillion to gross domestic product (GDP) in the second quarter of 2016, or 9.8 per cent, which represents an increase of 1.0 per cent points relative to the previous quarter.

Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, has said that although poverty can be pervasive in developing countries, the Nigerian Government is using the potency of ICTs to tackle it frontally. To this end, the Government has set up various ICT intervention agencies and programmes to contain poverty in the face of unexpected oil revenue crash.

Danbatta also said that the strategic vision of the Commission which is anchored on an 8-point agenda, among them, Facilitate Broadband Penetration, Improve Quality of Service, Optimize Usage and Benefits of Spectrum, Promote ICT Innovation and Investment Opportunities, and Promote Fair Competition and Inclusive Growth, just to name a few, will contribute in no small measure to Government’s efforts in fighting poverty with ICTs.

However, in the pursuit of ICTs for development and poverty reduction three things are very important. They are the three As – Access to Service, Availability of Service and Affordability of Service.

Considering the pivotal role telecommunications plays in the lives and economic wellbeing of any country, no effort should be spared in protecting the infrastructure and platforms of the industry, according to Executive Vice Chairman (EVC), of the NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta.

But NCC is concerned about increasing cases of illegal sealing up of telecoms Base Transceiver Stations (BTS) across the country by various persons, including organizations, communities, agencies of the Federal State and local government at times using law enforcement offices.

Danbatta who led a team of NCC Directors and officials on a courtesy visit to the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Solomon Arase in Abuja recently, lamented that apart from the actions being illegal, they also violate criminal Justice Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, CAP C39, laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004. Sealing up of Base Stations also has its social implication that is cutting off subscribers from communicating thereby degrading quality of service, which is already a major concern.

With over 107 percent teledensity for voice segment of telecommunications services already achieved in Nigeria, Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) and Chief Executive of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta recently assured International and potential investors that Nigeria remains a sure haven for ICT investments.

Danbatta spoke during a panel discussion in Barcelona, Spain, on the topic “is closing the digital divide in Sub-Saharan Africa myth or reality”.

He assured the International Community that the NCC’s eight-point agenda has been carefully packaged to cushion all aspects of investments, especially "as we move to the next frontier of ICT revolution – broadband for internet connectivity."

The panel discussion was a part of the Regional summit for Sub-Saharan Africa at the just concluded, Mobile World Congress (MWC) by GSM Association, in Barcelona, Spain.