The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta has identified several challenges confronting Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in Nigeria, making 568 licensed companies inactive to date.
According to him, one of the major issues is the anti-competition practices in the industry. This is even as he disclosed that a total of 756 companies had been licensed as ISPs in Nigeria as of March 2022, but only 188 of them are currently active.
Speaking at a Telecoms Sector Sustainability Forum organized by Business Remarks, the NCC boss said other issues confronting the internet providers include inadequate spectrum, high price of bandwidth, high cost of Right of Way, and lack of good corporate governance practice in the companies.
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While noting that efforts are being put in place by the regulator to address the issues, Danbatta said: “As a result of these challenges, deliberate policies and regulations are being looked at in the Commission in ensuring that ISPs and other smaller players in the industry thrive. Some of the measures the Commission has embarked upon to continue to promote fair play and orderly development of the Nigerian communications ecosystem as well as boost competitiveness of the industry include providing the required regulatory frameworks and interventions in terms of policies, guidelines, determinations etc., that will encourage fair play in the telecommunications industry.”
We are also maintaining and mandating more openness and transparency in the activities of stakeholders within the industry in order to ensure healthy competition practices amongst competing licensees. We are actively engaging in strategic collaborations with stakeholders who have crucial roles to play in the growth and development of the Nigerian economy with an emphasis on the telecommunications sector”, he added.
Giving her remarks earlier, the convener of the Forum and Managing Editor of Business Remarks, Mrs. Bukola Olanrewaju said: “Over the years, studies have shown that the licence renewal rate of ISPs in Nigeria continues to drop, even as others take up the licence. In view of the critical need for internet connectivity for the digital economy and for mass digitalisation of Nigeria, the role of ISPs is central also for uptake of internet of things (IoT).”
“Internet Service Providers in the Nigerian telecommunications industry have been struggling to stay afloat due to challenges confronting their market to remain in business, expand operations and post profit every financial year. In line with the above, findings also showed that most of the ISPs who served the enterprise market lost revenue during the pandemic because their services were cancelled or suspended, despite procuring wholesale capacity,” she observed.
The event themed: ‘Examining the Nigerian Internet Service Providers (ISPs): Viability in a Digitized Environment’ was backed by the NCC, Skymax Integrated Network Limited, IPNX, eStream Networks, WTES Projects Limited, MangoNet Integrated Technologies, FibreOne Broadband, Dotmac Technologies, ICSL, and the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).