Nigeria’s telecom sector most competitive

A report issued by Research and Markets reveals that Nigeria is the most competitive fixed-line market in Africa. The country features two national operators (SNO, Globacom) and more than 80 other companies licensed to provide fixed-telephony services.

The alternative carriers combined now provide over 95% of all fixed connections while the ailing incumbent, Nitel, is struggling to attract a new strategic investor and looking for new business models to turn the company around. On Monday, Chukwuma Nwokoh, spokesman for Nigeria’s Bureau of Public Enterprises, appealed to Omen International Ltd. to renew its $956.9 million bid for Nitel if it was still interested.

The majority of fixed lines have been implemented using wireless technologies, which give the network operators the opportunity to 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.

Several microwave and fibre-based national backbone infrastructures 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, which will also deliver a boost to the country’s underdeveloped Internet and broadband sector. Additional submarine cables are scheduled to go online in 2011 and 2012.

the fixed-line market is not the only area in which Nigeria’s telecoms sector is experiencing growth. MTN Nigeria has announced that it will spend $1Billion CAPEX  on optimization, building the fiber network, improving transmission capacity, building  more base stations and  substantially increasing the capacity of its network. In Nigeria, demand still outstrips supply  particularly where  tariff discounts are available. MTN Nigeria has continued to  address this by continuous investment  through aggressive network roll out, since it commenced operations in Nigeria in 2001.

By Angela Meadon