BY EMEKA EJERE
Active phone subscribers in Nigeria grew by 54.2 million in the last five years, the National Communications Commission (NCC), has disclosed.
The Executive Vice Chairman of the commission, Umar Danbatta, said this on Wednesday when he led the NCC’s board of commissioners on a visit to the Emir of Bichi, Nasir Ado-Bayero, in Kano as part of NCC 2020 Board Retreat.
Danbatta pointed out that in the last five years, the NCC management had built on earlier successes recorded, noting that broadband penetration moved from six per cent to over 45.43 per cent.
He disclosed this in a statement issued in Abuja by the commission’s spokesperson, Ikechukwu Adinde.
The NCC boss stated that the sector’s Gross Domestic Product contribution rose from 8.5 per cent to 14.30 per cent, while active phone subscribers grew from 151 million to over 205.2 million.
“Basic Internet subscriptions also increased from 90 million to 151.5 million, tele-density now stands at 107.53 per cent, while investment in the sector has increased from $38bn to over $70bn currently,” he stated.
On his part, the Emir noted that over the years, the commission had excelled in achieving its mandate of establishing an effective licensing and regulatory framework for the supply of communications services in Nigeria.
Ado-Bayero said the commission had been seen to be guided by the principles of fairness and forthrightness.
He was quoted as saying, “We are sure that the successes recorded by the commission are as a result of sound leadership, honesty, hard work and professionalism of Prof. Danbatta.
“We urge him to continue to provide quality leadership and the necessary strategic policy directions to ensure that the communications industry achieves greater heights.”
The monarch, who is the Chairman of 9Mobile, one of the telecommunications companies in Nigeria, commended the commission for its efforts in ensuring that 9mobile did not collapse during a financial crisis few years ago.
He said the NCC’s intervention saved millions of Nigerians from being rendered jobless with the attendant consequences.
9mobile, which is Nigeria’s fourth mobile network operator, was prevented from collapse by government regulators after talks with its lenders to renegotiate a $1.2bn loan failed.
Etisalat, with a 45 per cent stake in telecoms company, exited and left the board and management.
The operators’ subscriber base also dwindled drastically during the period.
The NCC instituted a bidding process and was sold to Teleology Holdings in 2018.
The telecoms company is currently managed by a new CEO, Alan Sinfield, who came onboard in June this year.