- Government Earns N500m From Renewal of 668 Telecoms Licences
The Federal Government through the Ministry of Communications has earned about N500 million from the issuance and renewal of spectrum licenses between November 2015 and September 2016.
This, according to the Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, is part of the efforts of the Ministry channeled towards spectrum management in Nigeria.
Shittu, who disclosed this at the National Council on Communications Technology conference, held in Kaduna, at the weekend, noted that government intended to secure state of the art mobile equipment that will be deployed to enforce compliance and also enable the detection, location and blocking of illegal users of spectrum.
The minister pointed out that effective radio spectrum monitoring would assist with intelligence gathering and support the agencies in enhancing security and safety of citizens and the nation in general.
Adebayo disclosed that in its effort to broaden Broadband penetration in Nigeria, government has licensed six slots of the 2.6MHz spectrum for the deployment of 4G-LTE Services. He stressed that in the same vein, processes have commenced for the licensing of Broadband services on the 5.4 GHz Spectrum Band and the allocation of 70/80 GHz band (E-Band).
The minister disclosed that Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the sector has increased from $32 billion in 2015 to $38 billion in 2016, adding that broadband penetration has reached 20.95 per cent, while the percentage of Internet penetration has reached a milestone 47.44 per cent, making Nigeria, second only to South Africa in the whole of the African Continent.
“There is a positive increase in the number of active telecoms subscribers with an increase from 148.70 million in august 2015 to 152.28 million as at August 2016, which is an increase of 5.9 per cent. In the same vein, tele-density rose from 107.67 per cent in August 2015 to 109.14 per cent in August 2016, thus recording an increase of 1.47 per cent,” he stated.
Furthermore, Adebayo, said government will expand investments in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) infrastructure to extend connectivity to the unserved and underserved areas.
In this regard, he said attention will be paid to the issue of multiple taxation of ICT infrastructure. “Also, we are working to have ICT infrastructure designated as Critical National Infrastructure. Efforts are being made to procure two additional communication satellites to complement the existing NigComSat as a means of reaching areas that cannot easily be covered by terrestrial fiber.
“We are also working to make more investments in building the capacity and harnessing the talents of our youth. In particular we are increasing Accelerators and Incubator programmes as a means of building and harnessing the capacity of our increasingly ICT savvy youth population. Our game plan is to deploy our indigenous ICT for national development. We will work to ensure that tech start-ups are not burdened with high take-off costs and killer interest rates that they currently suffer from. We believe that ICT companies should benefit from government incentives where first entrants can get pioneer status which would lead to an unprecedented boom in the sector,” he stated.
Shittu, who said that ICT has become a fulcrum of the nation’s economy traversing all aspects, including the public service, banking and finance, health and social services, education, security and agriculture, noted that the ubiquity and pervasiveness of ICT is manifest, “the challenge is how to harness and leverage the opportunities thrown up by the new economy powered by ICT to address the issues of revenue, investments and cost savings.”