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Telecoms concentrated 3G services in urban, leaving rural communities with 2G—BH investigations

An investigation conducted by Business Hilights team has revealed that majority of the telecoms services providers only provided 3G services in cities with reasonable population and few rural communities with encouraging number of youths.

The report is coming as the regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has disclosed that it has discovered that over 200 communities in Nigeria have telecommunication access gap.

Head of the survey at Business Hilights, Mr. Johnson Essien said “many of the Nigerian interior rural communities that are difficult to access and mainly others that are distant from urban centres are found to only access 2G services which allow them to only make and receive calls and sms.

Essein further disclosed that during his team’s interaction with some of the GSM networks, they all decline to comment on why 3G services were not in all Base transceiver Stations (BTSs) located in typical rural areas.

He said only one of the service providers (name with held) had both 2G and 3G in every mast in typical rural communities.

Essien noted further that “Within the cause of the study, our team observed that in some rural communities in South-East and South-South, users of android and other internet enabled phones who are in affected communities troop to nearly urban centres to access data services especially during the periods of mass return to home towns like the yuletide.

Explaining why the development was so, a top official of one of the leading telecoms (name with held) confided in our research team that “Yes 2G is traditionally everywhere but 3G is not like that because every network tries to install 3G in areas of high telephone traffic which translates to aggregate higher number of residents that will use the services”.

“But for us, we are everywhere.

It would be recalled that NCC recently released a statistics showing that about 200 communities across Nigeria have telecommunications access gap.

The Executive Vice-Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta disclosed this to Journalists recently in Abuja.

According to him, the telecommunications gap in these communities is affecting 40 million Nigerians, but the regulator is already putting efforts to address the challenge by making provision in the 2017 budget.

“We conducted a survey and discover that 200 communities in Nigeria have telecommunication access gap. The good news is we have planned to address the challenge by making provision in the 2017 budget through the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) being managed by a department under NCC. We are very sure that 40 million people in these communities would be covered in 2017,” the former University Lecturer said.

NCC said it would be unfair for any community to be left out of telecommunications services as development in other sectors of the economy had been shaped positively by the potential realities in the telecommunications sectors.

Continuing, Danbatta revealed that “Access to telecommunication services had caused direct and indirect rise in employment generation across the sectors of the economy, so no Nigerian should be left out”.