Chief Executive Officer of ntel, Mr. Kamar Abass

Emma Okonji

The Chief Executive Officer of ntel, the latest entrant into the Nigerian telecoms space, Mr. Kamar Abass, has predicted that by 2020, the Nigerian telecoms market would be dominated by data and broadband offerings.

He based his prediction on the increasing demand for data and mobile broadband services in the country and the global shift from voice to data communication, which he said is already happening in Nigeria.

Kamar said: “The truth is that the demand for telecoms services globally will always be underestimated, and there will always be underestimation in the transition that is occurring in the telecoms industry. But we are beginning to see a tremendous shift in the telecoms sector and this paradigm shift is unstoppable, and the shift is from a voice oriented communication market to a market that will be dominated by data and mobile broadband by 2020.”

According to him, Nigeria currently does not have more than 35 million mobile broadband customers, in spite of the huge number of active mobile subscribers that are over 150 million and the 35 million mobile broadband customers that are just 20 per cent of the 150 million mobile subscribers.

He added: ’’From our forecast, the growth of data and mobile broadband from now till the year 2020, will result in over 229 million active registered SIM in the Nigerian market, which is a 50 per cent growth from today’s total market size. Again, less than 30 million of the 229 million will be on 2G narrowband, and this means that about 200 million of the active mobile subscribers in Nigeria will be on mobile broadband.

So what this means is that there are huge opportunities in the Nigerian telecoms market for any operator to exist and survive in business. ‘’

He said as the latest entrant into the Nigerian telecoms space, the opportunities are huge for ntel and the existing telecoms operators who are quick to study and also follow the trend of things to come.

Corroborating the views of the ntel boss on the envisaged increase in the demand for data and mobile broadband, the President of the Association of Telecoms Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Mr. Lanre Ajayi has called on the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) and the federal government to speed up the implementation of the National Broadband Policy, which projected an increase in broadband penetration from the current 10 per cent penetration to 30 per cent penetration by 2018. According to Ajayi, the forecast for increased data and mobile broadband is a reality adding Nigeria must endeavour to meet up with the demand by increasing broadband penetration in the country. He said unless increased broadband penetration was achieved, it might be difficult for Nigeria to meet up with the future trend for data and mobile broadband.

Furthermore, he noted that access to broadband would boost economic activities by driving online traffic, insisting that the NCC and the federal government must expedite action to implement the country’s broadband policy in order to give Nigerians the desired opportunity to broadband access.

Ajayi also frowned on a situation where Nigeria has abundant broadband capacities at the shores of the country from MainOne, Glo 1 and MTN WACS submarine cables that are not utilised. He expressed concern that such broadband capacities were still underutilised by Nigerians because of the inability of the submarine cable operators to transmit broadband capacities from the shores of the country to the hinterlands for last-mile internet connectivity, where the service was most needed.