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Series of telecoms statistics rolled out by the telecoms regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) on Thursday have generated divergent reactions from leading industry stakeholders who viewed some of the data as unreliable and unverifiable.
Yesterday, the Commission through its new Director, Public Affairs, Mr. Nnamdi Nwokike released critical industry figures claiming that Nigeria’s broadband penetration has suddenly jumped from 22 per cent in early October to 30.9 per cent in a surprise rise in November.
However, top industry watchers and players who reviewed the claims disagreed with the broadband figures and called for sincerity to avoid misleading existing and prospective investors wishing to come into the sector after all.
In his response, the President of Association of Telecoms Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Engr Olusola Teniola averred that “The figure of 30.9 per cent rise in broadband penetration in Nigeria is not reliable; it is totally unreliable based on two factors”.
“One, the Infrastructure Companies (Infracos) licensees have not rolled out a single fibre network under the Open Access Model of the Nigerian Broadband Plan (NBP). The second is that 4G in Nigeria is currently less than 22%, going by the more reliable ITU figures and GSMA statistics.
“Thirdly, the speed that we indicated for the Nigerian broadband penetration that it should be minimal 1.5 megabits per second is not actually achieved in the figures presented by the NCC. Teniola argued that “Those figures are general figures; we only calculate a minimum of 1.5 megabits per second as being broadband in Nigeria. Remember that broadband minimum speed in more developed countries range between 10 and 20 megabits per second per household we do not have or ever achieved those speed in Nigeria”.
“So, we do not agree with those figures, those figures are not the figures that represent that Nigerian popular plan that was written in 2012 and was released and approved by the previous administration in 2013.
“We would like to have a more consistent and determined government that puts the picture of the citizens ahead of any other priorities that they are involved in. Why do we say this? The future of Nigeria is digital, the future of Nigeria is young demographic, the future of Nigeria is creativity and these are the things that the youths need, they need a platform that can enable them to do that so that we can have a reduced unemployment figure that is in a high rate of 20 to 30% of the nation which is unacceptable.
Continuing, he stressed that “If we have broadband in place, there would be a higher productivity in this country and there would be further contribution made by the youth and we do not see this. So, we do not know where the 30.5% came from. We are not aware of this 30.5%, the last time that the EVC of NCC spoke on this particular issue, he mentioned 23% and just within two weeks, we see a jump of 30.9%.”
Other key statistics in the telecom industry as released by NCC include that Active Voice Subscriber base grew from 165,239,443 in October 2018 to 169,104,830 in November 2018; that Internet Subscription grew from 107,547,723 in October, 2018 to 108,897,679 in November 2018; that the Total Active Broadband Subscription on 3G and 4G platforms as @ November 2018 is 58,965,478.
Others are that Contributions of Telecommunications and Information Services to GDP from Q1 – Q3 2018 was N4.7tn according to figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics. In the last quarter (Q3, 2018) the amount stood at N1.5tn, according to Q3 figures reported by the NBS.
The Commission also claimed that Telecommunications and Information Services Sector grew by 14.7% from Q1, 2017 – Q3, 2018.
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