Nigeria is the most competitive fixed-line market in Africa, featuring a second national operator (SNO, Globacom) and over 80 other companies licensed to provide fixed-telephony services. The alternative carriers combined now provide over 85% of all fixed connections while the ailing incumbent, Nitel, is in liquidation after a decade of failed privatisation attempts.
The majority of fixed lines has been implemented using wireless technologies, which gives the network operators the opportunity to also enter the lucrative mobile market under a unified licensing regime and has helped them to secure hundreds of millions of US$ in investments from local and foreign investors. However, fixed-wireless connections have declined in the past few years in favour of mobile services. This has prompted mergers and acquisitions in the sector, which is likely to continue in the coming years.
Several microwave and fibre-based national backbone networks are being rolled out by various companies. Nitel’s monopoly on international fibre bandwidth via the SAT-3/WASC submarine cable system ended in 2009 when Globacom’s Glo-1 cable landed in the country, followed by the Main-One cable in 2010 and WACS in 2012. Additional submarine cables are scheduled to go online in 2013 and 2014, which will deliver a further boost to the country’s underdeveloped Internet and broadband sector.
National telco Nitel in liquidation; Alternative carriers provide 85% of fixed connections; Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) among smaller operators; Fixed-wireless connections declining in favour of mobile services; National fibre backbone rollouts continue; New international submarine fibre optic cables planned for 2013 and 2014.