About two decades after the liberalisation of the telecoms sector, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) on Thursday in Lagos, said $136billion fresh investment is needed to expand access.
It also said over 40 million people still remained disenfranchised across the country in terms of access.
Its CEO, Prof Umar Dambatta, in his keynote at the Telecom Executives and Regulator Forum (TERF 2019) organised by the Association of Telecoms Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) at Oriental Hotel, Lekki, said even the so-called served areas are yet to enjoy the full benefits telecoms.
He said so many areas are still covered by 2G while the world is moving towards 5G.
According to him, funding will be needed to bridge the service gulf.
Represented by the Director Policy Competition and Economic Analysis Development at the NCC, Mohammed Babajika, the CEO said in 2000, connected lines were 450,000 while investment was $60million. This investment level moved to about $32billion in 2014 while connected lines moved to over 151million.
Last year, connected lines rose to over 172million while investment shot up to more than $68billion.
Prof Dambatta said: “Telecommunications constitute a significant portion of the world economy, as the global market value of the sector passed the $2.5 trillion mark in 2010. “Undoubtedly, everyone should be interested in the sector that generate such figures.
“Therefore, robust telecommunications network is important for economic growth, which is achievable through investment.
“$68 billion investment in Nigeria is huge, but it is by no means adequate for one of the fastest growing telecommunications markets in the world.
“The capital intensity of the industry, the need for service providers to increase their infrastructure deployment to satisfy the ever-increasing demand, create room for double the size of this investment in the next 10 years.
“We have about 40 million Nigerians yet to be reached with basic infrastructure and services.”
He said the NCC roadmap for broadband has created new frontiers for investment. The quest for data and social media as well as the increasing value added services create new frontiers for investments.
Therefore, the desire for investment in the sector will continue to grow as the size of the network increases, Prof Dambatta said.