Ahead of the celebration of tomorrow’s 61st independence anniversary, the country’s telecommunications operators (Telcos) have said the telecommunications sector has had a significant impact on the Nigerian economy in a variety of ways, especially over the past 20 years. years of the deployment of the global mobile communications system (GSM).
President of the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Mr. Gbenga Adebayo, while recounting the gains and challenges of the telecommunications sector since independence in 1960, said for 41 years since the accession of the Nigeria at independence in 1960 until the time of GSM rollout in 2001, the country was only able to connect 400,000 lines, which he attributed at a time when the government said telecommunications was the exclusive right of the rich in society.
Adebayo, who spoke exclusively to THISDAY, said that from 2001, when GSM services were marketed, Nigeria registered over 200 million connected telephone lines, giving telecommunications access to the majority of consumers. Nigerians, despite the increase in the country’s population.
“During 41 years of independence, that was before the deployment of GSM services in Nigeria, the country had 400,000 lines, but at 61 years of independence, that is to say after the deployment of GSM services, the Nigeria has over 200 million telephone lines. This means that over the past 20 years when GSM was rolled out, the Nigerian population grew and more people now have access to phone lines. This shows that GSM is a tool and a foundation for faster development in the telecommunications sector, than other sectors now relied on for growth and development.
“Over the past 20 years of GSM deployment, telecommunications have also contributed to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and have greatly contributed to the Nigerian economy. We are therefore bold to say that telecommunications have worked well and remain one of the pillars of modern development and economic empowerment in Nigeria, ”said Adebayo.
He further told THISDAY to look inside; it was evident that information and communications technologies (ICTs) had become the future technology that countries had to adopt. “Given the foundation that ICTs have provided, one can quickly say that in 10 years, Nigeria will be among the committee of nations that will be at the forefront of modern science and development, with telecommunications becoming one of the pilots. such a development, ”says Adebayo.
According to him, the growth and development enabled by the telecommunications sector since independence has been tremendous.
Citing such growth and development, Adebayo said that in 2001 Nigeria’s teledensity was 0.04%, but increased to 99.18% in August 2021.
He also said broadband penetration was 0.6% in 2010, but rose to 19.49% in August 2017, with a further increase to 41% in August 2021.
In the area of GDP growth, Adebayo said the contribution of telecommunications to GDP was 7.40% in the fourth quarter of 2013, and that it increased to 14.42% in the second quarter of 2021.
He said prices in the telecommunications sector continued to fall compared to other sectors. According to him, the cost of the SIM card in 2001 was 20,000 N, but it has dropped considerably to reach 100 N in 2021.
Speaking on the quality of service, Adebayo said that although there has been an improvement in the quality of service since 2001, however, he said that various environmental factors that go beyond the regulator and telecom operators still hamper the service quality.
He added: “For Nigeria to have unimpeded quality of service, all critical factors need to be considered including electricity supply, roads, government policies on rights of way (rights of way) and multiple taxation. .
Adebayo therefore advised the government not to tax telecommunications operations to death, as is currently seen in some states of the federation.
Adebayo, who congratulated the federal government on approving the deployment of the 5G network in Nigeria, said: “At 61 years of independence, the government has made the right decision to approve the 5G deployment policy for the Nigeria. This is because 5G is the next generation network. which will accelerate development. Countries without 5G will stifle their growth and development. Thus, the approval of the 5G deployment in Nigeria by the Federal Executive Council (FEC), which coincides with Nigeria’s 61st Independence Celebration, is quite significant and this will provide a solid foundation for future ICT development. in Nigeria. “
“So many things that will accelerate the development of the country will be based on ICT infrastructure like the eNaira currently being introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). 5G is the sought-after technology and it is coming at the right time. Nigeria is celebrating its 61st independence, Adebayo added.