Nigeria looking to Qatar for broadband investment

ICT Minister, Omobola Johnson.

According to This Day Live, Nigeria has called on investors as well as the ICT community in Qatar to take advantage of a variety of investment opportunities in the country, especially in broadband.

ICT Minister, Omobola Johnson, told the ITU Telecom World 2014 Conference in Qatar that Nigeria has been putting in place key policies and initiatives that set the foundation for the widespread use of ICT for government, businesses and the public.

Apart from having over 134 million active telephone lines and a teledensity of 96 percent, Nigeria has much to do to achieve all-inclusive penetration. Executive Vice-Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Eugene Juwah, said that Nigeria will focus on its ICT potential and opportunities. Juwah pointed out that Nigeria is the most populous nation in Africa with over 170 million people.

Juwah said President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has indeed approved a national broadband implementation plan. The NCC has entrenched the Open Access Model, which allows for inclusive, fair and transparent licensing processes as well as incentives for investors in the industry.

According to Juwah, from the regulatory perspective, NCC has entrenched the Open Access Model,which allows for inclusive, fair and transparent licensing processes as well as incentives for investors in the industry.

Juwa also said the NCC has tested the Open Access Model and it is workable in Nigeria. “In February 2014, we successfully issued a wireless broadband licence for the 2.3GHz frequency spectrum band. Regional fibre optics infrastructure deployment licence is currently being finalised for Lagos and the North Central region including Abuja, the capital of Nigeria. After that, the other five regions will follow, thereby creating huge investment opportunities for both current and new investors, and both small and big ones,” Juwah said.

He said although over 75 million people have access to the internet, they currently browse on the narrow band and with our current maturity on the voice segment, the data market remains untapped.

According to This Day Live, Juwah told his audience including the outgoing Secretary General of the ITU, Dr. Hamadoun Toure, that a lot more potentials and opportunities exist in the country’s financial sector where banks are yearning for broadband services to enable their indispensable data services requirements. He said the education sector also has huge demand for broadband data applications as well as the government agencies.

Chairman of the Board of Directors, Ooredoo Group in Qatar, Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammed Bin Saud Al Thani, took the opportunity to highlight the need for partnership and collaboration between the world’s key players, saying, “Amongst us are many of the world’s largest technology companies. We are joined by many high ranking government representatives, policy shapers, from across the region and the world, as well as a new generation of entrepreneurs and app-developers. Feel our power, our combined experience and knowhow. Together we can make the future happen sooner.”

Staff Writer