Nigeria is bound to witness a quick growth in its existing $70 billion investment in the nation’s telecoms industry, as the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) intensifies efforts on either releasing new and re-farming existing spectrum bands in he country, New Telegraph has learnt.
The telecoms regulator said it is also working towards attracting huge investment into the country as it woos potential investors into investing in owning spectrum licences to operate in Nigeria. Speaking on the sideline of the 27th Conference of the African Network Information Centre for Africa and Indian Ocean (AFRINIC-27) in Lagos, the Executive Vice Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta, said a lot of initiatives are ongoing to unleash more investment opportunities in the sector.
Danbatta, who was represented at the forum by NCC’s Director of New Media and Information Security, Mr. Alhassan Haru, said the earmarking of slots in the 700MHz band for commercial broadband deployment; the re-planning and licensing of the 800MHz, and the 900MHz E-GSM bands for 4G/LTE services are efforts to futher open up the industry for growth potential.
According to him, other activities by the Commission to grow the industry include the opening of the 70/80GHz to facilitate broadband deployment; the licensing of the 2.3GHz for 4G/LTE deployment; and the authorisation given some Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to re-farm the 1800MHz for 4G/LTE deployment.
“All these speak to the opportunities for growth and investment in the Nigerian telecommunication sector,” he said. Danbatta stated the Commission’s ongoing efforts demonstrate, in a concrete sense, NCC’s commitment to the implementation of its Strategic Vision Plan 2015-2020 as derived from the 8-Point Agenda, which first item is the facilitation of broadband penetration.
The EVC said the basis for such vision is oriented in the established correlation between broadband utilisation and job creation, economic growth as well as global competitiveness. Speaking to the theme of the biannual forum – ‘Taking the African Internet to the Next Level through Policy, Collaboration and Education’ – the CEO of NCC urged all stakeholders to evolve sustainable policies and forge greater collaboration to achieve optimal utilisation of the resources of the Internet.
In addition, Danbatta said the challenge posed by cybercrime also requires collaboration of all stakeholders in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) ecosystem.
This, he said, explains why “NCC is partnering the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to set up the Africa Regional Cybersecurity Centre in Abuja to enhance information sharing and capacity building on cybersecurity issues in the African region.”
He commended AFRINIC for its sterling achievements in rallying stakeholders together to provide the widest possible use of Internet resources by all interested communities.
Similarly, Nigerian Communications Minister, Mr. Adebayo Shittu, who was represented at the event by the Director of e-Governance at the Ministry of Communications, Mr. Tope Fashedemi, praised AFRINIC for providing the leadership that has contributed to the positive accomplishments in the Africa ICT ecosystem.
Shittu informed the delegates that Nigeria’s Internet penetration is already at 47.44 per cent and noted that the figure is set to rise as NCC finalise processes for the licensing of companies to fill the infrastructure gap and open the floodgate for citizens and enterprises to access Internet resources.
The minister’s position is in congruence with the remark of Director-General of National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Dr. Isa pantami. Pantami stated that broadband penetration is adding profound change in many spheres including citizens participation in governance. He promised that NITDA will work with the Federal Ministry of Communications, NCC, Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NIRA) and other stakeholders to promote sustainability, governance and inclusion for all.