ICT Clinic (Punch Newspaper)

Protecting the telecom industry in Nigeria [ICT Clinic]

Majority of those given birth to just about twenty years ago will find it hard to believe that once upon a time, Nigeria was a country that had, roughly, only about 400,000 telephone lines with millions of requests for telephone lines unattended to.
They would also find it difficult to believe that federal minister allegedly once said to that telephone service was not for the poor.
Today, all that has changed because a government had the will power to do what is right and some entrepreneurs took a great risk, against the advice of experts, to invest.
One, however, may argue that entrepreneurship is about taking risks, so, there is nothing further to talk about, when risks are usually part and parcel of the game.
I have always been a great admirer of all those who took the risk to pay $285mfor their licences when a number of top-rated entrepreneurs and experts had categorised Nigeria as too risky. This led me to pitch my tent with one of the telecoms providers, spending about five years of my working career there.
The telecom industry is, however, one of the most challenging, of the emerging industries in Nigeria. Its challenges range from multiple taxes, heavy levies on ICT infrastructure, scarcity of forex, to destruction of fibre lines.
The sector has been evolving for about 18 years now, recording uninterrupted growth, as well as disruptions, due to ever changing dynamic innovations.
Some of these innovations are offering super fantastic and flexibility convenience to Nigerians. Even kids are enjoying the evolution of the telecom industry in Nigeria today; a rarity even in dreamland 18 years ago.
Looking back to the earlier days, putting a call through on a mobile phone was a daunting task, as one may need to move to a particular location before a call could go through or have a better reception.
Today, the case is different. You could sit comfortably in your house and make a video call. The industry is full of potentials, which are still undergoing the process of exploration. A lot of disruptions are taking place, which positions the telecom industry at the pinnacle, if one is to juxtapose it with other sectors.
Historically, the telecom industry was still at infancy by 2001, with a paltry investment of $500million. This was the period when MTN Nigeria came to the Nigerian market and the entry of the South African firm subsequently paved the way for other investors.
Statistics show that there are about 150 million connected lines, representing a tele-density of 111 per cent with the industry contributing 9.8 per cent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product annually.
Many industry analysts believe that the industry has the capacity to contribute up to 15-20 per cent to the GDP by — Finish Reading on the Punch