Nigeria - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Forecasts

Nigeria - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Forecasts

New broadband infrastructure licences to be awarded in Nigeria

Nigeria is one of the biggest and fastest growing telecom markets in Africa, attracting huge amounts of foreign investment. 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 a decade of failed privatisation attempts, the incumbent national telco Nitel and its mobile arm M-Tel are currently in liquidation.

The West African country has overtaken South Africa to become the continent’s largest mobile market with now more than 125 million subscribers and a market penetration stands of around 75% in early 2014. The rapid growth has led to problems with network congestion and quality of service, prompting the regulatory authority NCC to impose fines and sanctions. Every year, the network operators are investing billions of US$ into additional base stations and fibre optic transmission to support the ever increasing demand for bandwidth.

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 third and fourth generation (3G/4G) mobile broadband, mobile payments/banking, and others. Major infrastructure sharing and outsourcing deals have been concluded. Several LTE networks are in operation.

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 around 85% of all fixed connections, the majority of which has been implemented using wireless technologies. This in combination with a unified licensing regime gives the network operators the opportunity to also enter the lucrative mobile market 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 (M&A) in the sector, which is likely to continue in the coming years.

The arrival of a second international submarine fibre-optic cable (Glo-1) in 2009 and a more in 2010, 2012 and 2013 has broken the monopoly of Nitel’s notorious SAT-3/WASC cable and is revolutionising the country’s underdeveloped Internet and broadband sector by reducing the cost of international bandwidth by up to 90%. Additional submarine cables are scheduled to go online in 2014. Significant consolidation has occurred among Internet service providers (ISPs) as new powerful players from the fixed-wireless and mobile sector have entered this market with 3G/4G mobile and advanced wireless broadband services such as WiMAX. The Internet Protocol (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.

Although the market is one of the most competitive in Africa, the industry regulator is tightening price caps and mandating further reductions of interconnect rates. Following years of delays, mobile number portability (MNP) was finally introduced in 2013, promising to make the market even more competitive.

Market highlights:

The largest mobile market and the most competitive fixed-line market in the region;
Billions of US$ in investments per year, tens of thousands of new base stations to be built;
Major network infrastructure sharing and outsourcing deals;
Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) among smaller operators;
National telco Nitel/M-Tel in liquidation;
Regulator cracks down on poor quality of service;
New price caps and lower interconnection rates;
Number portability finally introduced;
Efforts to promote infrastructure sharing;
Spectrum auctions;
Several LTE networks launched;
Alternative carriers provide 85% of fixed connections;
New broadband infrastructure licences planned in 2014;
National fibre backbone rollouts continue;
More bandwidth from new international submarine fibre optic cables;
Consolidation in the ISP sector;
Explosive growth of mobile broadband subscriptions;
Rapidly evolving digital media and digital economy.

Data in this report is the latest available at the time of preparation and may not be for the current year


  • EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
  • KEY STATISTICS
    • Table Country statistics - 2014
    • Table Fixed-line network statistics - 2014
    • Table Internet provider statistics - 2014
    • Table Internet user statistics - 2014
    • Table Mobile statistics - 2014
    • Table National telecommunications authority
  • TELECOMMUNICATIONS MARKET
    • BACKGROUND
    • MOBILE MARKET
    • FIXED-LINE AND FIXED-WIRELESS MARKET
    • INTERNET AND BROADBAND MARKET
    • TELECOM INVESTMENTS
  • REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT
    • NIGERIAN COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION DECREE (NCCD)
    • NATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS POLICY (NTP)
    • NIGERIAN COMMUNICATIONS ACT
    • WEST AFRICAN COMMON REGULATORY FRAMEWORK
    • CLASS LICENCE POLICY EXTENSION
    • REGULATORY AUTHORITY
      • Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC)
    • KEY REGULATORY ISSUES
      • Interconnection
      • Quality of service (QoS)
      • Environmental impact of telecom towers
      • Infrastructure sharing
      • No regulation on state level
      • Universal service
      • National emergency numbers
      • Foreign ownership
      • Mandatory NSE listing
      • Dominant market players
    • TELECOM SECTOR LIBERALISATION
      • Table Number of telecom licences by category - 2013
      • Globacom's SNO licence
      • Regional fixed-wireless access (FWA) licences
      • International gateway licences
      • Unified licensing regime
      • Regional broadband infrastructure licences
    • PRIVATISATION OF NITEL
      • Table Financial bids for Nitel/M-Tel, first and second round - 2010
      • IPO
      • Liquidation
    • SPECTRUM AUCTIONS
      • 3.5GHz
      • 800MHz
      • 2.5GHz and 700MHz
      • 450MHz
      • 3G mobile spectrum
      • LTE/WiMAX spectrum (2.3GHz)
  • FIXED NETWORK MARKET
    • FIXED-LINE MARKET AND INFRASTRUCTURE OVERVIEW
      • Fixed-line statistics
        • Table Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Nigeria - 1999 - 2014
        • Table Fixed and fixed-wireless lines in Nigeria by operator, market share - December 2013
      • Unified licensing regime
      • Regional broadband infrastructure licences
    • FIXED NETWORK OPERATORS IN NIGERIA
      • Nigerian Telecommunications Ltd (Nitel, defunct)
      • Globacom Ltd
      • VGC Communications, MTN
      • National Long-Distance Operators (NLDO)
      • Fixed-wireless network operators
  • TELECOMMUNICATIONS INFRASTRUCTURE
    • NATIONAL FIBRE OPTIC INFRASTRUCTURE
      • Backbone networks
    • INTERNATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE
      • Submarine fibre
      • Terrestrial fibre
      • Satellite
  • INTERNET MARKET
    • OVERVIEW
    • INTERNET STATISTICS
      • Table Internet users and penetration rate in Nigeria - 2000 - 2014
      • Table International internet bandwidth in Nigeria - 2001 - 2012
    • LIMITED AVAILABILITY OF PCS
      • Stimulus programs
    • PUBLIC INTERNET ACCESS LOCATIONS
      • Mobile Internet Units (MIUs)
    • INTERNET EXCHANGE POINTS (IXP)
    • COUNTRY CODE TOP LEVEL DOMAIN (CCTLD) ADMINISTRATION
    • ISP MARKET
      • Internet Service Providers Association of Nigeria (ISPAN)
      • Selected ISPs
        • Table Hyperia Nigeria broadband pricing - 2013
  • BROADBAND MARKET
    • OVERVIEW
      • National Broadband Plan
    • ADSL
    • WIRELESS BROADBAND
      • Odu'a Telecom
      • Swift Networks
      • Startech Connection
      • Nitel
      • Netcom Africa
      • MWEB Nigeria
      • Gateway Communications
    • WIFI
      • Accelon, Internet Solutions
      • Jigawa Broadband Access Network
      • Polestar/5G WiFi network in Lagos
      • NaijaWiFi
      • Abuja WiFi, WiMAX
      • Enugu
      • Bharti Airtel
    • WIMAX
    • MOBILE BROADBAND
      • Table Mobile internet subscribers in Nigeria by operator - 2012 - 2014
    • INTERNET VIA SATELLITE
      • Direct-on-PC
      • BroadbandDirect
      • IP Direct
      • MWEB Nigeria
      • Other services
    • BROADBAND OVER POWERLINES (BPL)
    • FIBRE TO THE HOME (FTTH)
    • VOIP INTERNET TELEPHONY
      • Nitel
      • Globacom
      • Starcomms
      • Adesemi Nigeria
      • MWEB Nigeria
      • Accelon
      • Linkserve
      • Layer3
      • Swift Networks
  • DIGITAL ECONOMY/DIGITAL MEDIA
    • DIGITAL ECONOMY
      • E-commerce, e-payments
      • E-government
      • E-health
      • E-learning
      • Electronic Crimes Bill
    • DIGITAL MEDIA
      • Cable TV
      • Internet TV
      • Triple-play, NGN
      • Blogs
      • Facebook
  • MOBILE COMMUNICATIONS
    • OVERVIEW OF NIGERIA'S MOBILE MARKET
      • Mobile statistics
        • Table Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in Nigeria - 1998 - 2014
        • Table Mobile subscribers in Nigeria by operator, technology - December 2013
    • REGULATORY ISSUES
      • GSM licence terms
      • Interconnection
      • Mobile tariffs
      • International gateways
      • Unified licensing regime
      • Universal service
      • Mobile number portability
      • Central equipment identity register
      • Poor quality of service
      • SIM card registration
      • Equal access for mobile content providers
      • Consumer protection against billing irregularities
    • MAJOR GSMMOBILE OPERATORS
      • MTN Nigeria
        • Table MTN Nigeria ARPU - 2002 - 2013
      • Bharti Airtel (formerly Zain/Celtel Nigeria)
        • Table Zain Nigeria ARPU - 2006 - 2009
      • Globacom
      • Etisalat Nigeria (EMTS, Mubadala)
      • M-Tel (defunct)
    • CDMA OPERATORS
      • Multi-Links Telkom
      • Reliance Telecommunications Ltd (Reltel, Zoom)
      • Starcomms Ltd (Capcom)
        • Table Starcomms Nigeria total and mobility/mobile subscribers - 2005 - 2013
      • Intercellular Nigeria Ltd
      • Visafone
    • MOBILE DATA SERVICES
      • SMS
      • MMS
      • GPRS, EDGE
      • WAP
      • CDMA2000 1x
      • BlackBerry
      • Mobile money transfer, m-banking
    • MOBILE TV
    • 3G
      • Licensing
      • Globacom
        • Table Glo Mobile Nigeria 3G HSDPA pricing - 2013
      • Airtel
        • Table Airtel Nigeria 3G HSPA+ pricing - 2013
      • MTN
        • Table MTN Nigeria 3G HSDPA pricing - 2013
      • Etisalat Nigeria
      • CDMA-2000 1x EV-DO
        • Table Visafone Nigeria CDMA-2000 1x and EV-DO pricing - 2013
    • LTE
    • SMARTPHONES
    • SATELLITE MOBILE
  • FORECASTS
    • FORECASTS - MOBILE SUBSCRIBERS - 2015; 2018
      • Table Forecast mobile subscribers in Nigeria - 2015; 2018
      • Notes on scenario forecasts

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