Monday, January 07, 2008

Nigeria - Growth of telecommunications

Steady Growth in Telecommunications

The installed capacity of telecommunications operators in Nigeria has reached 70 million lines ? this is according to figures released by the Nigerian Communications Commission. The number of connected lines has reached 51.9 million, with GSM firms accounting for 49 million of the lines and CDMA accounting for 2.4 million of the lines.

However of the connected lines, only 39 million are active, meaning about 10 million lines are dormant.

According to industry observers, the problem came as a result of Nigeria?s privatization programs experienced by the Nigerian Telecommunicaitons Limited (NITEL). The result of which led to NITEL?s 400,000 fixed lines being reduced to barely 70,000, while its mobile subsidiary, Mtel, which had over 1million lines, now have less than 200,000 active users.

However, the increase in capacity appears a little surprising considering that telecoms congestion has been a problem in the sector.

Recently telecommunications operators have been massively increasing their installed capacity with GSM firms adding well over 450 new base stations every month since the beginning of the year. In a recent press briefing, the Chief Commercial Officer of Celtel Nigeria, Mr. Michael Foley, said the capacity increase had become necessary in order to address the massive demand by subscribers.

Another reason for the increase in network capacity is the entry of 3G mobile services into the economy. Speaking at the inauguration of the service on Monday, Corporate Services Executive of MTN Nigeria, Mrs. Amina oyagbola, said the company had been engaged in a lot of capacity increase to meet the requirements of the new service.

She said, ?we will continue to build and consolidate additional capacity on our pre-existing 2.5 G platform.?

3G services require a lot of bandwidth in order to support video calling, mobile television and video conferencing.

But with the capacity now at 70 million, this could indicate an imminent end to the persistent complaints of network congestion. This is because operators now have the headroom to handle a large number of calls.

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