Business Hilights
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NCC explains presence at ITU, mute on ‘Where to invest in Africa’ report

The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof Umar Danbatta, on Tuesday addressed visitors to the Nigerian pavilion at the ongoing ITU Telecom World conference, in Busan, South Korea.

According to him, “We come to the ITU Telecom World every year to tell our story, share our experiences and borrow a leaf from global best practices to address our concerns, engage and collaborate with the global community to strengthen the growth and impact of the Nigerian Telecoms Industry”.

Whereas he maintained silence on the trending report released by Rand Merchant Bank which saw Nigeria missing in the radar of Africa Investments Destination in 2018, Danbatta noted that

“We are here to tell the ICT community that Nigeria with a population of about 170 million is a preferred investment destination in Africa.

With over 150 million active subscribers, in the voice segment, over 102 percent teledensity and a little over 92 million internet connections, Nigeria is indeed a place to invest”.

“Our engagement with the global community during this event will include creating awareness of the investment opportunities in Africa’s biggest Telecom market, as well as guarantee of adequate Returns on Investments (RoIs)”.

According to him, “We come to enlist the support of other players, governments, regulators and the global community from whom there is always a basket of ideas to take back home to Nigeria.  The implementation of these ideas will ensure a better regulatory environment, even though ours has been seen as a very robust and consultative regulatory agency right from 2001 when the Digital Mobile Licences (DML) was issued”.

“While it is true that different people come with different notions to ITU Telecom World, the end result is to better serve our people, deploy resources to address access gaps in underserved and unserved communities in our various jurisdictions.

Danbatta recalled that the ITU/UNESCO Broadband Commission for sustainable development recently said Nigeria now has about 21% broadband penetration and conscious of the reality that broadband fuels faster data transmission speed and capacity, our focus now is on how we can attract the right investments to grow this critical area of the sector through broadband coverage expansion.

He revealed that NCC has put in place measures and guidelines to licence wholesale broadband service providers consistent with the Open Access Model for broadband deployment.  Of the seven infrastructure companies (Infracos) earmarked for licensing, only two have so far been licensed for Lagos which is commercial hub of Nigeria, and Abuja including the North Central zone of the country leaving five more licences for the South West, South East, South South, North East and North West zones of the country. The process of licensing of Infracos for these five remaining zones is about to be concluded.

Business Hilights recalls that according to the National Broadband Plan, time for the above licencing rounds has long elapsed and the regulator has failed to give reasons.