…Forum to examine Nigerian ISPs’ viability for digitised environment
…Telecoms operators employ 14,774 Nigerians, 299 expatriates
With data consumption increasing by 70.8 per cent from 205,880.4 terabytes in 2020 to 350,165.39 terabytes in 2021, no less than 552,667 subscribers across the six-geopolitical zones of Nigeria connected to the web via the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) at the end of 2021.
The 552,667 indicated an increase of 87.8 per cent from the 294,257 users recorded in 2020, according to statistics from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
While the ISPs witnessed a leap in users’ rate, the mobile network operators’ (MNOs) growth contracted by negative 8.0 per cent, dropping from 154,289,727 users to 141,959, 496, owing to so many factors, including Federal Government’s ban on activation of new Subscribers Identification Modules (SIM) cards and the compulsory linkage of SIMs to National Identity Number (NIN) at that time.
The NCC said the South West had the highest number of Internet users in 2021 through the ISPs with 442,252 customers indicating 82 per cent of the total subscriptions South-South had 10.1 per cent with 56,028 users; North Central had 9.5 per cent with 52,544 users; North West had 0.2 per cent with 967 users; South East had 0.1 per cent with 538 users and North East had 0.1 per cent, which was the least of all the regions with 338 users.
The NCC in the 2021 Subscriber/Network Data Annual Report released recently, informed that out of the 79 ISPs that made submissions, 50 are based in Lagos representing 63 per cent, 12 are in Abuja representing 15 per cent, Ibadan has six representing eight per cent, while the remaining 11 which represent 14 per cent are in other locations of the country.
FURTHER, in terms of Internet speed, the telecoms regulator informed that in the period under review, out of a total of 345,252 users via ISPs, 5,147 users subscribed to speeds between 256Kbps-2Mbps, representing 1.5 per cent of the total user base; 40,896 users between 2–10Mbps, representing 11.8 per cent of the total user base; and 299,209 subscriptions in the 10mbps and above category, which makes 86.7 per cent of the total.
Long before now, the ISPs had witnessed lull in growth, owing to competition from MNOs offering ISP services, harsh business environment, inadequate national broadband infrastructure, additional, multiple taxation by different levels of government, and unfavourable conditions for the Industry in terms of disparity between advertised Internet speeds and actual speed obtainable on the networks, inadequate provision of redundancy by ISPs to handle network down time and lack of compensation for downtime and poor quality of service.
Weathering these challenges is expected to be the focus of stakeholders tomorrow in Lagos, when they gather at an event organised by Business Remarks, a business and ICT focused print and online publication.
With the theme “Telecoms Sector Sustainability Forum” (TSSF), the maiden edition, stakeholders will discuss and examine Nigerian ISPs viability in a digitised environment for a vibrant and sustainable economy. TSSF is a special dialogue initiative of Business Remarks, to address and drive healthy competition for a sustainable telecoms sector in Nigeria.
According to Editor in Chief of Business Remarks, Bukola Olanrewaju, the forum will highlight important issues on ISPs towards a sustainable economy. The forum will feature key stakeholders in the industry while also providing innovative ideas and insight that can guarantee a secured and strong ICT industry.
MEANWHILE, as of 2021, industry statistics revealed that Nigeria’s telecommunications operators have employed about 15, 073 workers directly. Out of this, 10, 611 were males, while 4,163 females. The sector also provided jobs for 299 expatriates, where 252 were men and 11 women.
According to data from the NCC, the operators were segmented into mobile, Internet Service Providers (ISP), fixed telephone, colocation/infrastructure sharing, value added service (VAS) and other network data operators.
Specifically, mobile operators (MTN, Airtel, Globacom, 9mobile, ntel and Smile) employed 7,226. Out of this, 4541 were males, 2501 females and 184 expatriates. Fixed telephone operators (21st Century, ipNX, inq.Digital and Swift Telephone) had 471 workers, of which 358 were males; 113 females and two expatriates.
The ISPs had 3,274 employees, where 2,515 were males, 723 females and 36 expatriates. Colocation and Infrastructure sharing providers boasted of 1,920 workers, of which 1,511 were men, 360 women and 49 expatriates. VAS operators had 751 workforce, 526 men and 208 women with 17 expatriates. For other network operators, NCC said they employed 1,426, where 1,160 were men, 258 women and 11 expatriates.