While the world is changing rapidly, a large part of the African population still does not have access to telecommunications services. According to the GSMA, the mobile internet penetration rate was 28% in sub-Saharan Africa in 2020, compared to a mobile penetration rate of 46%.
More than 35 million people lack access to telecommunications services in Nigeria despite growing investment in the sector, according to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC). This situation is due in particular to “the inadequacy of the wireless and fiber optic connectivity infrastructure ” in the sector.
According to the regulator, lack of access prevents millions of citizens from accessing digital and financial services and the benefits associated with them. “ The fact is that more citizens will embrace digital financial literacy when they have access to telecommunications services in the remote, isolated, unserved and underserved communities where they live ,” said Umar Danbatta, Executive Vice President of the NCC.
The NCC is aware of the need to bring telecom services and connectivity to all Nigerians in a context marked by the acceleration of digital transformation across the world. To this end, it has committed to increase investment in fixed and wireless infrastructure as part of its objective to deepen mobile broadband penetration and achieve a level of financial inclusion of at least 80 % in about four years.
Several measures have been implemented under the Nigerian National Broadband Plan 2020 – 2025 . These include the licensing of infrastructure companies; spectrum refarming; auctioning of 5G spectrum; replanning of the 800 MHz CDMA spectrum for LTE; the administrative allocation of the 700 MHz spectrum for LTE.
According to Mr. Danbatta, these measures should notably allow “ to provide 120,000 km of fiber, a penetration of 70%, data download speeds across Nigeria of a minimum of 25 Mbps in urban areas, and 10 Mbps in rural areas, with effective coverage available to at least 90% of the population at a price not exceeding 390 naira per 1 GB of data (equivalent to 2% of median income or 1% of minimum wage) by the end of 2025 ”.