Nigeria mobile phone subscribers hits 121m


92a5f_glo-nigeria1Nigeria’s mobile phone subscriber base has grown to 121 million, with internet user numbers up from 45 million two years ago, to 48 million.

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This is according to President Goodluck Jonathan, whose message was delivered in Bangkok this week at the opening of Nigeria’s Pavilion at the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Telecom World 2013.

The president said the telecoms sector had brought over $25billion to the economy in foreign direct investment (FDI), while operators have displayed commitment to invest another $6 billion in the sector in the future.

The president, who was represented by the Minister of Communications Technology, Omobola Johnson, lamented that while the national economy was growing, “Challenges still persist with poverty reduction,” adding however that income distribution was improving while the “consumer class” is expanding.

“As at September this year, there were over 121 million active SIM (subscriber identity module) cards in the country,” the president said, adding that there is a high occurrence of multiple ownership of SIM cards, estimated at about two to three per subscriber, which he said meant that there were tremendous opportunities for growth in the sector.

“Opportunities also exist in the data and Internet markets. Internet users in Nigeria have risen from 45 million in December 2011, to 48 million in June 2012. That is three million new users in just six months.

“Figures we have from the four major operators (MTN, GLO, Airtel and Etisalat) show that between June 2012 March 2013 an additional 9 million new mobile Internet subscribers; that is equivalent to one million new subscribers per month,” President Jonathan said.

He recalled that at last year’s Telecom World forum in Dubai, Nigeria communicated its commitment to creating an enabling environment for the ubiquitous roll-out of broadband across its territory.  To achieve this, he said he had just inaugurated a multi-stakeholder committee to develop a roadmap to achieve a five-fold deployment and increase of broadband penetration by 2018.

“Since that time, this Broadband Committee has completed its work and its output, National Broadband Roadmap, is galvanising investment in the ICT sector.  A Broadband Council has also been inaugurated to track the implementation of this Roadmap; and important agreements and collaborations have been established between government at all levels and telecom operators,” the president said.

He said the government has also made progress with respect to generating demand for broadband services, adding that the initiatives to improve the process of ideation and innovation are building “companies, not code” – that is, sustainable businesses that will bring about wealth and job creation by producing products and services that are relevant to the unique challenges Nigerians face and that fulfils their aspirations.  Demand for broadband is also being generated as we continue the implementation and expansion of our e-government initiatives and apply ICTs in the delivery of socio-economic services.

He said the telecoms industry is growing at a the rate of about 30 per cent per annum, while government’s assessment of the industry shows that this growth is sustainable.

He therefore called on investors to invest in the country, promising that they stood the chance of getting good returns.

Babatunde Akinsola
Babatunde Akinsola
Babatunde Akinsola is aNaija247news' Southwest editor. He's based in Lagos and writes on the Yoruba Nation political issues, news and investigative reports

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