By Martin Ekpeke

While the Nigerian telecommunications industry celebrates the remarkable growth trajectory it has recorded in the past, it must continue to build a resilient network infrastructure that requires even higher connectivity, reliability and accessibility standards to solidify its position as an engine of economic growth.

This is the position of the Executive Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) Prof. Umar Danbatta at the Emerging Technology Forum for the telecommunications Industry with the theme “Contextualizing the Network Readiness Index (NRI) for the Nigerian Telecommunications Industry.”

Danbatta, who was represented at the forum by the NCC’s Director of Spectrum Administration, Engr. Abraham Oshadami, argued that the enhancement of digital access and the expansion of the networks have left an indelible impact on the lives of our citizens.

“While we celebrate these accomplishments, we are keenly aware that our dynamic society requires even higher connectivity, reliability, and accessibility standards. The surge in data utilisation, the proliferation of the Internet of Things (IoT), the advent of artificial intelligence, and the emergence of cutting-edge technologies highlight the urgent need for ongoing network surveillance and expansion,” he said.

He noted that to navigate this era of transformation, the country must embrace innovation, make strategic investments and cultivate a growth-friendly ecosystem, adding that the Emerging Technology Forum is a gateway to innovative and disruptive solutions that can positively transform the industry.

“By engaging in conversations about new technologies, collaborating with global best practices and subject-matter experts, and pooling our insights, we open the door to unimaginable future possibilities. Let us grasp this opportunity to investigate emerging technologies, envisage their potential applications, and determine how they can be leveraged to solve our specific challenges,” he urged.

Nigeria is a telecommunications powerhouse, with 82% of the continent’s telecom subscribers and 29% of the continent’s internet consumption. Our nation rates eleventh globally in terms of internet penetration and seventh in terms of mobile phone usage. Despite these remarkable metrics, the fact remains that the Network Readiness Index (NRI) ranking for 2022 is 109th out of 131 countries is both humbling and challenging.

National Network Readiness Index

Meanwhile, Engr. (Dr) Chidi Diugwu, Head New Media and Information Security Department at NCC has explained that the National Network Readiness Index (NRI) is widely used for monitoring access and impact of Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

He noted that the NRI is an invaluable tool for identifying gaps, stimulating action, structuring policy dialogue and tracking ICT readiness over time.

participants at the Emerging Technology Forum in Abuja

According to him, the Tech Industry is a focal point of Nigeria’s growth, demonstrated by the recent investments in infrastructure and digital services; statistics from the National Bureau of Statistics indicate that Nigeria’s ICT sector contributed up to 14.07% to the total GDP in the first quarter of 2020, and this had grown to 17.47% by Q1 2023.

“There has been remarkable development in Nigeria’s ICT infrastructure in recent years, with skyrocketing mobile penetration rates, and internet connectivity expanding drastically. The Commission’s commitment to enhance network infrastructure, coupled with the private sector’s contributions has significantly transformed our connectivity landscape. It is crucial to note that the NRI is not just about the latest technologies or high-speed internet access. It also includes elements such as affordability, digital skills, and the availability and adoption of digital services in various sectors of the economy,” he explained.

Nigeria’s performance on the NRI index from 2020 to 2022, as reported by the Potulans Institute, indicates a mixture of improvement and challenges that still persist. Thus, applying the Network Readiness Index in the Telecommunication Industry is of paramount importance in the current digital ecosystem.

Emerging Technology Forum

Also making a remark at the forum, Executive Commissioner – Technical Services, Engr. Ubale A. Maska, noted that the primary objective of the forum is to provide standard roadmaps and best practices which can be used to measure the impact of Information and communications Technology (ICT) in society and promote the adoption of new technologies.

He stated that NCC will review the latest findings of Nigeria’s NRI, explore various barriers and key drivers to the implementation of innovative technologies and ultimately, create actionable solutions to help move the industry forward.

“We live in rapidly changing times where the proliferation of digital transformation and the use of ICTs are inevitable. With the world becoming increasingly interconnected and our economic activities relying heavily on the digital space, it has become essential for countries to be at the forefront in terms of technology adoption. This is why the Network Readiness Index (NRI) is so important to measure the progress of a country as it relates to ICTs and digital transformation,” he said.

Nigeria’s Network Readiness Index is a strong indicator of how the country is adapting to the digital transformation that is happening all over the world. It will help the country to access the progress and position on the global digital train.


ITPulse is a wholly information technology communication (ICT) news website, with a special focus on the African continent. The website provides up-to-date biz-tech news, analysis and comprehensive and thorough insight into the continent's ICT terrain

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