I am pleased to be invited by the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) to this breakfast meeting. This is a very good opportunity for us to share information on the state of our industry and how we can make things better going forward. Like we know, the mission of ATCON is to serve as the voice of all telecommunications companies in Nigeria and to contribute to the growth of telecommunications in Nigeria, thereby enhancing the growth of our national economy resulting in better living conditions for our people.
At the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), we have a complementary mission and this is to support a market driven telecommunications industry and promote universal access. We will achieve this through the consistent enforcement of clear and fair policies that protect stakeholders like you, ensure efficient resource management, share industry best practices and deliver affordable, quality telecommunication services.
The Nigerian Communications industry has undergone a huge transformation in the last decade, going from an active subscriber base of about 400,000 lines and an appalling teledensity of 0.4 in 2001 to an active subscriber base of 91 Million lines and teledensity of 64.98 as of March this year. Having achieved the Commission’s ten years focus of growing teledensity with the massive deployment of mobile telephony all over the Country, the Commission is now ready to take up more tasks. The NCC under my leadership will focus on the following six areas we have identified as key to the development of our industry as we strive to improve the dividends of the telecom revolution sweeping across the Country.
· Consolidation and Integration of Mobile Wireless Services including Quality of Service
· Fixed Line and Broadband Deployment for National Development
· Enhanced Competitive Market and Choice for the Consumer
· Vigorous Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement of Regulations and Directives
· National Connectivity for Accelerated Growth
· Enhanced International Relations
Now, what has the NCC done so far?
In the first quarter of this year, we restructured our operations to lay emphasis on areas of challenges to growth. The newly created Monitoring and Enforcement Unit of the Commission was beefed up with the necessary machines and human capital to equip her with the ability to monitor and ensure compliance.
In addition, the Commission has given more emphasis to the issue of Quality of Service (QoS). We set up a taskforce, and this taskforce produced the draft regulation and key performance indicators (KPIs) that will be used to make the operators fully accountable for QoS issues.
Recently, we flagged-off the nationwide registration of existing SIM Cards in all our networks. ATCON as a body has previously advocated for this. We consider SIM Card registration as a very important aspect of managing growth in a structured way.
Having achieved huge rise in active subscription and respectable teledensity, the nation’s inadequate fixed line infrastructure needs to be addressed for the future sustenance of the growth of the telecommunications industry. Our desire is to bring fixed lines back to homes, schools, offices, and businesses through a massive deployment of broadband infrastructure to be facilitated by the Commission. We hope to achieve this by deploying fibre rings across the nation to cascade broadband and ICT infrastructures.
Some activities directed towards achieving these include some projects run directly by the NCC such as the Wire Nigeria Project (WIN), and the State Accelerated Broadband Initiative (SABI). Other projects consist of the activities of the Universal Service Provision Fund Secretariat (USPFS). These are made up of the Schools Access Programme (SAP), Backbone Transmission Infrastructure Project (BTRAIN), Rural Broadband Internet Project (RUBI), Community Communications Centers (CCCs), and Accelerated Mobile Phone Expansion Project (AMPE). While some of these projects are currently undergoing some kind of restructuring, we are working on a comprehensive action plan that will contain the diverse nature of the services with the assistance of local and international consultants while exploring the concept of an open access model in the delivery of the options. As fellow stakeholders in this sector, your ideas and suggestions on how to move the industry forward is welcomed.
Thank you for listening and I look forward to a great discussion.