Telecommunications operators in Nigeria have so far deployed a total of 53,460 base transceiver stations (BTS), the country’s telecom regulator has disclosed. According to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the total BTS, which include that of third-generation (3G) and fourth-generation (4G), indicated a significant increase from 30,000 the country had a few years back.
The Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, who disclosed this while briefing the new Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, Engr. Festus Yusuf Daudu, on the functions and regulatory activities of the Commission, said Fibre Optic Transmission cables have also been expanded from 47,000km to 54,725km in the last five years, resulting in improved broadband/telecoms service delivery to Nigerians.
“The BTS, fibre optic cables and other related infrastructure are central to the provision of improved service experience for Nigerians by their respective telecoms service providers,” he said, adding that the licensed Infrastructure Companies (InfraCos) are also expected to add 38,296km to optic fibre cables when they commence full operations.
According to the EVC, as at November 2020, active telephony subscribers stood at 208 million with teledensity standing at 108.92 per cent while active Internet subscriptions were 154.9 million and broadband penetration of 45.07 per cent, among others.
He also talked on various initiatives undertaken by the Commission to ensure consumer protection and empowerment. These, according to him, include the Declaration of 2017 as Year of the Telecom Consumer, the introduction of the 622 Toll-Free Line for lodging and resolving consumer complaints and the provision of the 112 Emergency number and activation of 19 Emergency Communications Centre (ECCs).
Other such consumer-centric regulatory measures intervention, according to the EVC, include the issuance of various directions to mobile network operators (MNOs) to protect the consumers from being short-changed, ensuring a smooth transition of Etisalat to 9Mobile, consumer outreach programmes, introduction and enforcement of mobile number portability (MNP) as well as introduction of the Do-Not-Disturb (DND) 2442 to check cases of unsolicited text messages.
In the comprehensive briefing, the EVC spoke on NCC’s enabling laws, mandates of NCC, the structure of NCC, implementation approach of its mandates and methodology, key focus and targets, scorecards, the new soon-to-be-unveiled Strategic Management Vision (SVP), NCC’s contributions to the economy, various regulatory frameworks aimed at improving service delivery, challenges confronting the sector and proposed solutions, among others.
According to Danbatta, the effective regulatory regime emplaced by the leadership of the Commission has resulted in increased deployment of infrastructure by telecoms operators, which in turn, helped to improve broadband penetration and other related service delivery in the telecoms industry.