By Kester Omu
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the country’s telecom regulator has given schedules of its participation in this year’s International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Telecom World, which will be held in Busan, South Korea from September 25 – 28, 2017.
According to a statement signed by the Director of Public Affairs, Mr. Tony Ojobo, Nigeria’s robust telecommunications regulatory environment, guarantee of Returns On Investment (ROI) and investors renewed confidence in the fast growing sector will form part of the country’s narrative at the annual event.
The Commission said the schedules fall into its agenda to expand the telecom industry, which has witnessed a multiplier effect on social and economic development, since 2001 when Digital Mobile Licences (DML), were issued by the Nigerian Communications Commission.
Parts of the statement read: “Telecommunications services are now available to everyone unlike the pre-GSM era when only 500,000 lines were available to a population of nearly 90 million from an investment profile of about $50m. Teledensity was about 0.01 percent. Internet connectivity was a nightmare. But the story has since changed.
“There are over 150million active subscribers now. Internet connections are over 90million, teledensity is well over 100 percent. There is over $80b invested in the sector so far with over 70per cent of it as Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
The investors have never known a better yesterday.
“So, as Nigeria’s delegation berths in Busan, South Korea, the narrative will be endearing as the country beckons on more investors especially in broadband Internet.
“Existing and potential investors will want to hear the cherry news of a robust regulatory agency, the NCC, which has carried out its regulatory functions in line with global best practices, stakeholders’ engagement, among others.”
The Commission also disclosed that the Honourable Minister of Communications, Barrister Abdulraheem Adebayo Shittu, will lead the country’s delegation which will include the Chairman of the Board of Commissioners of NCC, Senator Olabiyi Durojaiye; the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta; key industry leaders and players among others.
The ITU Telecom World 2017 is a global platform for major industry players, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), Countries and Organisations to network and share ideas about new developments and technologies that would lead to better connected societies.
It is an event for international visibility of innovative Information and Communications Technology (ICT), Products/Services and solutions from around the World.
In general terms, it involves high level debates on the core issues affecting ICT industry, sharing knowledge and working for sustainable development.
Although Nigeria has had a very robust telecommunications sector with active connected subscribers in the region of 150million and about 110percent teledensity, the NCC believes that more efforts should be deployed to deepen broadband penetration.
By the National Broadband Plan, NBP (2013 – 2018) the country is expected to attain 30% broadband penetration by 2018, which currently stands at 21%.
Nigeria will host an investment forum at ITU Telecom World 2017 and Broadband Nigeria will be at the focus of discussions.