Nigeria: 105m subscribers this year


Image: Ernest Ndukwe. By BiztechAfrica
Ernest Ndukwe

By Kokumo Goodie, Lagos, Nigeria

Going by the current exponential growth in Nigeria's telecom sector, there are chances that the current subscriber base of about 100 million may record an additional five million in another three months’ time.

Ernest Ndukwe, immediate past executive vice chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), made this disclosure in a keynote address at the Nigeria Telecoms Awards held at the weekend in Lagos. While he described this growth as phenomenal, he warned that the rise of the new media alongside the boom in subscriber base could be disruptive to established democracy, create more cyber criminality and among others, endanger the safety and social equilibrium of societies.

The former NCC chief, who made a presentation on ICT Development and the Media, said the changes that have taken place in the telecommunications industry in Nigeria in the past twelve years can only be described as 'phenomenal and breath taking', adding that it began in 2001 when what is now commonly referred to as Nigeria’s Telecoms revolution debuted.

"Today, the figure for active subscribers in the mobile networks is around 100 million lines and may surpass 105 million by end of December 2012. Indeed Nigeria has transited from what I had described as the 'telecommunications dark ages' before 2000 to a telecommunication revolution age that has opened up new possibilities and frontiers across our political social and economic landscape,” he said.

Ndukwe said this feat was achieved due to an unwavering commitment to full sector reform by various stakeholders in the value chain including government for policy direction; the industry regulator for professional and pro-active regulation, openness, transparency, and firmness; the legislature for enacting good laws for the sector; and the Nigerian media for incisive and well researched reportage and publications.

He lamented however that all too often the role of the media is not well recognised, arguing that it is no exaggeration to say that the press and electronic media (radio, television and internet) have played a major role in the success of the telecom revolution right from the onset. He cited the landmark frequency spectrum auction in January 2001 which he said would not have had the level of international acclaim and recognition for transparency it enjoyed if not for the role of the media in the pre-auction stage, the auction stage and the post-auction stage of the digital media licence or DML auction.

“One of the major success factors of that DML auction which commenced on the 17th and ended 19th of January 2001 was the fact that process was monitored by interested parties locally and internationally. Recognition must therefore go the indomitable media team that ensured that this happened. From that unique beginning, the relationship with the Nigerian media in ICT development has been that of an essential partnership,” he averred.

He said New Media will redefine the concept of journalism and media practice and redefine media power ownership in the continent; encourage citizen journalism and give the ordinary folk the ability to talk and contribute to issues; and diffuse state ownership of the media albeit equally removing it from the dominance of the tiny few.

According to him, on the other side, some have argued that New Media will be disruptive to established democracy, create more cyber criminality and among others, endanger the safety and social equilibrium of societies. “Instead of one to many, New Media facilitates a user-to-user interactivity, and creates what Vin Crosbie described as Individuation Media, or many to many.

“That is where the threat is: media in the hands of many. But as long as technology continues to advance, as long as personal communication tools are fitted with state of the art communication abilities, as long as humanity continues to seek for alternative technology to drive down cost and empower the majority, and as long as it is possible to receive TV and Radio in mobile devices, New Media will always be advantageous beside being a threat,” he warned.

Share the News

Get Daily Newsletter

comments powered by Disqus


Tigo Ghana opens new digital support centre

Tigo Ghana has commissioned its new Digital Support Centre at the Tema Free Zones Enclave. Read More

Orange, ENGIE to optimise power supply to telecoms infrastructure in Africa

Orange and ENGIE have signed a partnership covering two projects – the expansion of the rural electricity grid and ENGIE’s optimisation of energy supplied to Orange’s telecoms infrastructure in Africa.   Read More

MTN Ghana ready to deploy 4G LTE

The Chief Executive Officer at MTN Ghana, Ebenezer Twum Asante, has indicated MTN Ghana’s readiness and preparedness to deploy 4G LTE in the country.  Read More

New Airtel shop opens in Meru

Airtel has unveiled a new walk-in Service Centre in Meru that offers customers the convenience and ease of access to Airtel's range of value-added products and services. Read More

BTCL releases ‘ultimate communications solution’

The Botswana Telecommunications Corporations Limited (BTCL) has unveiled a mobile VSAT product meant to revolutionise the way of doing business in the country.  Read More

Glo unveils Twin Bash with 400% data bonus, 200% airtime bonus

Just two weeks after the launch of the Free Tomorrow promo, Globacom has unveiled another promo with benefits that include quadruple data and free double airtime for calls to all network. Read More

Vodafone Ghana CEO urges African SMEs to embrace technology as a key enabler

Vodafone Ghana Chief Executive Officer Haris Broumidis has urged local entrepreneurs to embrace technology to help their businesses to grow. Read More

Orange signs an agreement with Helios Investment Partners for sale of Telkom Kenya stake

The Orange Group has announced that it has signed a binding agreement with Helios Investment Partners for the sale of its entire 70% stake in Telkom Kenya. Read More

MTN CEO resigns

MTN has appointed Phuthuma Nhleko as Executive Chairman in a temporary capacity following the resignation of Sifiso Dabengwa as CEO. Read More

MTN clarifies NCC fine status

MTN has released a statement to clarify the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) fine and related issues. Read More


Sage ERP AfricaSAP AfricaSage Pastel AccountingTrust PayVMWareSamsung ElectronicsMitsumi DistributionPhoenix DistributionMTN BusinessSchneider ElectricMultichoiceMicrosoft 4AfrikaNetworks Unlimited


eCommerce in Africa urged to take advantage of mobile eCommerce in Africa urged to take advantage of mobile

The Executive Chairman of Alltel has urged operators of eCommerce in Ghana and Africa as a whole to take advantage of the current trend for Africans to trade online via their mobile handsets. 


Nigeria needs $25b investment in broadband, says WoodNigeria needs $25b investment in broadband, says Wood

Telecoms executive Adrian Wood speaks to Kokumo Goodie about investment potential in Nigeria.