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Nigeria - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Forecasts


Attention: There is an updated edition available for this report.

1. Key Statistics
2. Telecommunications Market
2.1 Background
2.2 Telecom investments
2.3 Market analysis 2010
2.3.1 Mobile market
2.3.2 Fixed-line and fixed-wireless market
2.3.3 Internet and broadband market
3. Regulatory Environment
3.1 Overview
3.1.1 Nigerian Communications Commission Decree (NCCD) 1992
3.1.2 National Telecommunications Policy (NTP), 1995-2009
3.1.3 Nigerian Communications Act of 2003
3.1.4 West African common regulatory framework 2005
3.1.5 Class Licence policy extension 2007
3.2 Regulatory authority
3.2.1 Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC)
3.3 Key regulatory issues
3.3.1 Interconnection
3.3.2 Consumer protection, quality of service
3.3.3 Environmental impact of telecom towers
3.3.4 Infrastructure sharing
3.3.5 No regulation on state level
3.3.6 Universal service
3.3.7 National emergency numbers
3.4 Telecom sector liberalisation
3.4.1 Globacom’s SNO licence
3.4.2 Regional fixed-wireless access (FWA) licences
3.4.3 International gateway licences
3.4.4 Unified licensing regime since 2006
3.5 The four attempts to privatise Nitel
3.5.1 IPO
3.6 Spectrum auctions
3.6.1 3.5GHz
3.6.2 800MHz
3.6.3 450MHz
3.6.4 3G mobile spectrum
3.6.5 WiMAX spectrum
4. Fixed Network Market
4.1 Overview
4.1.1 Market analysis - 2010
4.1.2 Fixed-line statistics
5. Major Operators
5.1 Fixed network operators in Nigeria
5.1.1 Unified licensing regime
5.1.2 Nigerian Telecommunications Ltd (Nitel)
5.1.3 Globacom Ltd
5.1.4 VGC Communications, MTN
5.2 National Long-Distance Operators (LDOs)
5.2.1 Nepskom Communications Ltd (defunct)
5.3 Fixed-wireless network operators
5.3.1 MTS First Wireless
5.3.2 Mobitel Nigeria Ltd
5.3.3 Prestel (O-Mobile)
5.3.4 Regional FWA operators
6. Telecommunications Infrastructure
6.1 National fibre optic infrastructure
6.2 Backbone networks
6.2.1 National Information Infrastructure Backbone (NIIB)
6.2.2 Galaxy Backbone Plc
6.2.3 Suburban Telecom Ltd
6.2.4 Phase3 Telecom
6.2.5 Backbone Connectivity Network (BCN)
6.2.6 Mobile operators’ national backbone networks
6.2.7 Private networks
6.3 Fibre to the Home (FttH)
6.4 International infrastructure
6.4.1 Submarine fibre
6.4.2 Terrestrial fibre
6.4.3 Satellite
7. Internet Market
7.1 Market analysis - 2010
7.1.1 Internet statistics
7.2 Limited availability of PCs
7.2.1 Stimulus programs
7.3 Public Internet access locations
7.3.1 Mobile Internet Units (MIUs)
7.4 Internet Exchange Points (IXP)
7.5 Country code top level domain (ccTLD) administration
7.6 ISP market
7.6.1 Internet Service Providers Association of Nigeria (ISPAN)
7.6.2 Selected ISPs
8. Broadband Market
8.1 Overview
8.2 Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL)
8.3 Wireless broadband
8.3.1 Odu’a Telecom
8.3.2 Swift Networks
8.3.3 Startech Connection
8.3.4 Cyberspace Network
8.3.5 Nitel
8.3.6 Netcom Africa
8.3.7 MWEB Nigeria
8.3.8 Gateway Communications
8.4 WiFi
8.4.1 Accelon, Internet Solutions
8.4.2 Jigawa Broadband Access Network
8.4.3 Polestar/5G WiFi network in Lagos
8.4.4 NaijaWiFi
8.4.5 Abuja WiFi, WiMAX
8.4.6 Enugu
8.5 WiMAX
8.6 Mobile broadband
8.7 Internet via satellite
8.7.1 Direct-on-PC
8.7.2 BroadbandDirect
8.7.3 IP Direct
8.7.4 MWEB Nigeria
8.7.5 Other services
8.8 Broadband over Powerlines (BPL)
8.9 Convergence
8.9.1 VoIP Internet telephony
8.9.2 Internet TV
8.9.3 Cable TV
8.9.4 Next generation networks (NGN), Triple-play
9. Digital Economy
9.1 E-services
9.1.1 E-commerce, e-payments
9.1.2 E-government
9.1.3 E-health
9.1.4 E-learning
9.1.5 Electronic Crimes Bill
10. Mobile Communications
10.1 Market analysis - 2010
10.1.1 Mobile statistics
10.2 Regulatory issues
10.2.1 GSM licence terms
10.2.2 Interconnection
10.3 Mobile tariffs
10.3.1 Per-second billing (PSB)
10.4 International gateways
10.5 Unified licensing regime brings new competition
10.6 Universal service
10.7 Mobile number portability
10.8 Central equipment identity register
10.9 Poor quality of service
10.10 Registration of subscriber details
10.11 Foreign ownership
10.12 Major mobile operators
10.12.1 MTN Nigeria
10.12.2 Zain/Celtel Nigeria (formerly V-Mobile and Econet Wireless)
10.12.3 Globacom
10.12.4 M-Tel
10.13 Unified service licensees
10.13.1 Multi-Links Telkom
10.13.2 Reliance Telecommunications Ltd (Reltel, Zoom)
10.13.3 Starcomms Ltd
10.13.4 Intercellular Nigeria Ltd
10.13.5 Visafone
10.13.6 EMTS (Mubadala, Etisalat)
10.14 Mobile data services
10.14.1 Short Message Service (SMS)
10.14.2 Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS)
10.14.3 GPRS, EDGE
10.14.4 Wireless Application Protocol (WAP)
10.14.5 CDMA2000 1x
10.14.6 BlackBerry
10.14.7 M-banking, M-payment
10.15 Mobile TV
10.16 Third generation (3G)
10.16.1 Licensing
10.16.2 Globacom
10.16.3 Zain
10.16.4 MTN
10.16.5 CDMA EV-DO
10.17 Satellite mobile
11. Forecasts
11.1 Forecasts - mobile subscribers - 2012; 2015
12. Glossary of Abbreviations
List of Tables and Exhibits
Table 1 - Country statistics Nigeria - 2010
Table 2 - Fixed-line network statistics - January 2010
Table 3 - Internet provider statistics - March 2010
Table 4 - Internet subscriber and user statistics - 2010
Table 5 - Mobile statistics - January 2010
Table 6 - National telecommunications authority
Table 7 - Financial bids for Nitel/M-Tel, first and second round - February 2010
Table 8 - Fixed lines in service, Nitel vs. PTOs and teledensity - 1995; 1997; 1999 - 2010
Table 9 - Fixed and fixed-wireless lines by operator and market share - September 2009
Table 10 - Internet users and penetration rate - 1996; 1998; 2000 - 2011
Table 11 - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate - 1998 - 2011
Table 12 - Mobile subscribers by operator, technology and annual change - September 2009
Table 13 - MTN Nigeria ARPU - 2002 - 2009
Table 14 - Celtel Nigeria ARPU - 2006 - 2009
Table 15 - Starcomms total and mobility/mobile subscribers - 2005 - 2009
Table 16 - Zain prepaid mobile data pricing - March 2010
Table 17 - Forecast mobile subscribers - 2012; 2015
Exhibit 1 - Number of telecom licences by category - February 2010
Exhibit 2 - Regional FWA licensees
Exhibit 3 - Regional FWA licensees in Nigeria
Exhibit 4 - New international submarine fibre optic cables in West Africa - 2010 - 2011
Exhibit 5 - Ownership battle - from EWN to Vee Networks to V-Mobile to Celtel/Zain

This annual report provides a comprehensive overview of trends and developments in Nigeria’s telecommunications market. Subjects covered include:

  • Key statistics;
  • Market and industry overviews;
  • Regulatory environment and structural reform;
  • Major players (fixed, mobile and broadband);
  • Infrastructure development;
  • Mobile voice and data markets, including 3G;
  • Average Revenue per User (ARPU) trends;
  • Internet development;
  • Broadband, including 3G mobile;
  • Convergence (voice/data, fixed/wireless/mobile).


Nigeria is one of the biggest and fastest growing telecom markets in Africa, attracting huge amounts of foreign investment, and is yet standing at relatively low levels of market penetration. Far reaching liberalisation has led to hundreds of companies providing virtually all kinds of telecom and value-added services in an independently regulated market. After failing three times in the past, the privatisation of Nitel, the incumbent national telco, is scheduled to be finally completed in 2010.

The West African country has overtaken South Africa to become the continent’s largest mobile market with now over 75 million subscribers, and yet market penetration stands at only around 50% in early 2010. However, subscriber growth slowed significantly during 2009, partly as a result of the global economic crisis. Much of the remaining addressable market is in the country’s rural areas where network rollouts and operations are expensive. This in combination with declining ARPU levels is forcing the networks to streamline their operations and to develop new revenue streams from services such as 3G mobile broadband, mobile payments/banking, and others. At the same time the operators are rolling out national fibre backbone networks to support the ever increasing demand for bandwidth.

Nigeria is also 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 95% of all fixed connections, the majority of which has been implemented using wireless technologies. This gives the network operators the opportunity to also enter the lucrative mobile market under a new unified licensing regime and has helped them to secure hundreds of millions of US$ in investments from local and foreign investors.

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. Additional submarine cables are scheduled to go online in 2010 and 2011. This is set to revolutionise the country’s underdeveloped Internet and broadband sector by reducing the cost of international bandwidth by up to 90%. New powerful players from the fixed-wireless and mobile network operator camps have entered this market with 3G mobile and advanced wireless broadband services such as WiMAX. The IP-based next generation networks currently being rolled out are enabling converged voice, data/Internet and video services. VoIP is already carrying the bulk of Nigeria’s international voice traffic. Applications such as e-commerce, online banking and e-payments, e-health, e-learning and e-government are rapidly evolving.

This annual report contains a market overview and analysis, key statistics, regulatory issues, profiles of major players (MTN, Globacom, Zain, Visafone, EMTS, Nitel/M-Tel, Multi-Links, Starcomms, Reliance, M-Tel, Intercellular, among others) including financial results where available, and two scenario forecasts for the mobile market in 2012 and 2015.

  Market highlights:

Forecasts for mobile markets to 2012 and 2015;
Market analysis 2010;
Profiles of major players, including financial results;
New competition in international fibre bandwidth is set to revolutionise the market;
Estimates for end 2010 and 2011 for mobile and Internet market.Estimated market penetration rates in Nigeria’s telecoms sector - end 2010
Market Penetration rate
Mobile 53%
Internet 24%
(Source: BuddeComm based on various sources)
For those needing high level strategic information and objective analysis on the telecommunications sector in Nigeria, this report is essential reading and gives further information on:

The largest mobile market and the most competitive fixed-line market in the region;
Government policies affecting the telecoms industry;
Market liberalisation and regulatory issues;
Telecoms operators - privatisation, acquisitions, financial results, new licences;
Internet and broadband development and growth;
3G mobile broadband rollouts and pricing;
Average Revenue per User (ARPU);
Mobile application and content developments.

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