Danbatta Unveils Achievements and Promises Accelerated Broadband Expansion

Umar Danbatta, the Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), recently shared his achievements and the Commission’s efforts to boost broadband penetration, aiming for 50% by the end of 2023 as part of the national target to reach 70% by 2025.


Danbatta announced that 5G services subscriptions have surpassed half a million, showcasing the progress of the Commission’s broadband initiatives, with current estimates as of July 2023 at 47.01%. He highlighted 119 milestones achieved under five strategic pillars, including regulatory excellence, universal broadband, market development, digital economy, and strategic collaboration.


Under his leadership since 2015, active telephone subscribers increased from less than 150.7 million to 218.9 million, a teledensity growth of 115.70%. Broadband penetration grew significantly from 6% in 2015 to 47.01% in July 2023, with over 89.73 million subscriptions on 3G, 4G, and 5G networks. General Internet subscriptions also rose to 159.5 million from less than 100 million in 2015.


The telecommunications sector’s contribution to GDP increased from 8% in 2015 to 16% in the second quarter of 2023. Investments in the sector surged from $38 billion in 2015 to $75 billion, driven by authorizations for more telecommunications companies to operate in Nigeria. The sale of 5G C-Band Spectrum generated over $847.8 million for the Federal Government.


Danbatta highlighted various initiatives, including Spectrum Trading Guidelines, re-farming of spectrum bands, and the release of C-Band Spectrum by Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited. The Commission also facilitated the landing of the Google Equiano subsea Internet cable in 2022, listed MTN on the Nigerian stock exchange, licensed Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs), and introduced new unlicensed millimeter wave spectrum.


NCC endowed professorial chairs in Nigerian universities and invested over N500 million in Research and Development (R&D) in the telecoms sector. The creation of the Digital Economy Department and the operation of the Nigeria Office for Developing Indigenous Telecom Sector (NODITS) marked significant strides.


Consumer-focused initiatives included the establishment of Emergency Communications Centres (ECCs) in over 30 states and the Federal Capital Territory, along with the creation of the Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT). Danbatta emphasized actions taken for consumer protection, such as data roll-over, toll-free numbers for service-related complaints, and measures to combat unsolicited text messages.


Despite challenges like vandalism, securing Right of Way (RoW), multiple taxation, and regulation, the Commission is working with stakeholders to sustain the telecoms sector’s growth as a driver of socio-economic development in Nigeria.

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