Broadband: Beyond The Applause, Will Nigeria Tap Into Unlimited Access?
From Olabisi Olaleye (US) and Pelumi Olaleye (Lagos, Nigeria)
The telecommunication umpire, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), in the last couple of years have pushed the broadband campaign to the front burner and most Nigerians benefited from the dividend no doubt.
Not only that, NCC licenced some Infrastructure companies (InfraCos) for a better broadband plan. Already,
Raeanna Nigeria Limited was licensed to build broadband infrastructure in the South-South region and brings the total number of Infracos to six as three other companies had earlier been issued permits as part of the National Broadband Plan of the Nigerian government.
NCC at every international conference boast of its hardwork on broadband achuevements as well as the active subscribers riding on it. While other developed countries have gone beyond the applause to the broadband unlimited inclusive paradigm shift.
According to Wikipedia, in telecommunications,broadband
is a wide bandwidth data transmission which transports multiple signals and traffic types. In the context of Internet access, broadband is used to mean any high-speed Internet access that is always on and faster than dial-up access over traditional analog.
. Prof Danbatta
The Executive Vice Chairman NCC, Prof.Umar Danbatta, during a recent stakeholders’ event, broadband penetration in Nigeria has risen from 29.83 percent which is 56,937,294 million to 30.90 percent, having 58,965,478 million subscriptions.
The question on every lip is ,what are the measures put in place to ensure that NCC and other service providers come to the round table to allow Nigerians make a one time cheaper monthly payment for unlimited calls, unlimited SMS (both local and international) and unlimited downloads and uploads?
In countries like the United States of America and Canada most of their citizens enjoy this privilege. And old and newly licensed providers in the country could look into this.
Commenting, a telecom expert in the US, Marlon Cook explained that there are also Pay As You Go like Lyca Mobile and in Canada, there is Chatr, it all depends on subscriber preference for it or the monthly unlimited bundle.
“While the monthly fee allows a roll over and subscriber internet may not be paused if exhausted except when indicated by the subscriber but Pay As You Go do not have the roll over and has its own limitations. Most telecom operators in Africa are profit centred, which is understandable. The next stage of broadband innovation which the Original Equipments Manufactures, OEMs are latching on will be the SIMless phones.
“With 5G already here, phones in this part of the world will be without SIMS and can only be activated by the telecommunications providers. It was just like when detachable batteries seamlessly went into extinction, same will happen soon”.
He maintained that the workability of unlimited calls, SMS and internet services on an affordable monthly fee depends on the industry’s regulatory futuristic roadmap at ensuring beoadband inclusiveness in conjunction with telecoms providers and consumers advocacy groups.
Also commenting, president CECAD center for CYBER Awareness and Development and vice president Nigeria internet group, Dr Bayero Agabi disclosed that there is a possibility if there is a mutual agreement between operators.
Said he: “Yes there is a possibility. It’s not much of a regulatory order but a business need for the operators. If that happens the consumers maybe loosing just as it is now with data bundle. If one bundles data in Nigeria wether or not there is failure from the operators, you have paid. So to implement calls bundle both the end users, the regulator, the consumer protection agency and the operators will have to work on it.
“It’s workable, it’s desirable but the infrastructure must be right to avoid lopsided services. By this, we need good elecricity, policy to help it and the operators willigness to do it. It’s a good one”.
For the technology oracle and Chair, Mobile Software Solutions Limited, Mr Chris Uwaje , “it is the core Stakeholders and User Communities that can make it happen through boycotts on one form or the other. Just like the per-second billing experience. The consumer group should lead the advocacy,”he said.
Already, the active mobile subscribers users have risen to over 169 million and internet subscription to over 109 million.
According to statistics on NCC website, the number of active telephony connections subscribers in Nigeria as at November is 169,104,830 million and number of teledensity which is 120.79%, an increase in number of subscribers in October, 165,239,443 million and 118.03 percent number of teledensity.
Today, there is a total of 168,729,005 million active subscribers on licensed service providers, which is broken down to be 43,119,154 million Airtel subscribers, 15,361,671 million 9mobile subscribers, 43,273,188 million Global subscribers, 66,974,992 MTN subscribers.
Internet subscription has risen to 108,457,051 million users as at November 2018. Airtel having 28,958,253 million subscribers, 9mobile 10,058,713 million subscribers, Globacom 27,761,281 million subscribers and MTN, with 41,678,804 million subscribers.
However, the number of broadband subscribers in USA Q1 of the year is 96.54 million, Q2; 97.09 million, and Q3; 97.66 million which is a far cry compared to the number of broadband subscribers in Nigeria.