Nigeria, with a monthly growth figure of 1.1 million in new mobile phone subscription, is now the eighth fastest growing telecommunications environment in the world, the private Guardian newspaper reported Wednesday, quoting the regulatory Nigeria’s Communications Commission (NCC) chief executive Ernest Ndukwe.
Altogether, the African nation has a total of 57 million subscribers connected to its five mobile networks – MTN Nigeria, Globacom, Zain, Etisalat and M-tel.
Ndukwe said that in the first quarter of 2007, which was used as a reference point, Nigeria added 3.3 million new subscribers, thus joining the top 10 countries on the global mobile networks.
China’s 18 million, India (13.7m), Pakistan (7.6 m), Indonesia (5.3m), Iran (5.1m), Brazil (3.8m), Argentina (3.8m) are ahead of Nigeria. Thailand (3.2) million and Russia (3. 2) million complete the chart.
The NCC boss said the phenomenal growth in the sector had been fuelled by adequate, responsive and transparent regulation.
He also said the sector raked in additional investment in the excess of US$12 billion between January 2001 and October 2008, while government alone had realised over US$2.5 billion from spectrum auction.
Ndukwe said the opening up of the market to competition in all segments of the industry had resulted in major drop in prices for telecommunications services.
Pre-2001, the cost of subscription to the state-run monopoly MTel’s analogue mobile services was over 60,000 naira (US$500) per line.
In 2001, the GSM subscription started at 20,000 (US$170) per line but has now fallen to near zero.
Also, the tariff for calls on the GSM network, which was as high as 50 naira (42 cents), has dropped to about half the amount.