Nigeria has one of the largest telecom markets in Africa, supported by the second largest economy on the continent after South Africa. During 2016 the economy went into recession, though GDP growth returned in 2017. Given the potential for further growth, the telecom sector attracts considerable foreign investment. Market liberalisation measures in recent years have led to hundreds of companies, many of them small and localised, being set up to provide a range of telecom and value-added services.
The mobile sector has benefited from market competition and the wider deployment of LTE technologies, which have in turn supported operator revenue growth and encouraged the adoption of mobile broadband among subscribers. Other than the key mobile network operators, there are a number of additional players operating under a unified licensing regime.
The regulator has licensed four regional infrastructure companies (InfraCos) to build a national broadband network and offer capacity to all service providers on a non-discriminatory, open-access and price-regulated basis. An additional three InfraCo licenses are expected to be awarded by March 2018.
Nigeria has the most competitive fixed-line market in Africa, featuring a second national operator (Globacom) and over 80 other companies licensed to provide fixed-telephony services. The alternative carriers combined provide around 85% of all fixed connections, though in general terms about 80% of all connections are wireless.
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. The landing of additional submarine cables (supported by improved domestic fibre infrastructure) has delivered a further boost to the country's developing broadband sector by improving bandwidth and reducing prices for end-users.
Regulator licences two more InfraCos; government pledges to deploy 18,000km of fibre to extend broadband to rural areas; MTN Nigeria secures licence for spectrum in the 2.6GHz band; state oil company NNPC allows part of its fibre infrastructure to be used for telecom services; NCC and NITDA establish joint committee to collaborate on efforts to develop the telecoms and ICT sectors; regulator hopes for the telecoms sector to account for a greater share of GDP by 2025; regulator cracks down on poor quality of service; efforts continue to promote infrastructure sharing; report update includes the regulator's market data to December 2017, operator data to Q3 2017, recent market developments.