The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta, has identified several challenges faced by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in Nigeria, rendering 568 licensed companies inactive to date.
According to him, one of the major problems concerns anti-competitive practices in the industry. It was even then that he revealed 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 forum on the sustainability of the telecommunications sector organized by Business Remarks, the NCC boss said that other problems faced by Internet service providers include inadequate spectrum, the high price of bandwidth, high cost of right of way and lack of good corporate governance practices in companies.
What they say
- While noting that efforts are being put in place by the regulator to resolve the issues, Danbatta said: “Because of these challenges, deliberate policies and regulations are being considered within the Commission to ensure the prosperity of ISPs and other small players in the industry. Some of the steps the Commission has taken to continue to promote fair play and the orderly development of the Nigerian communications ecosystem as well as to boost the competitiveness of the industry include providing the necessary regulatory frameworks and interventions in terms of policies, guidelines, determinations etc., this will encourage the fair -play in the telecommunications industry.
- We also maintain and enforce greater openness and transparency in the activities of stakeholders within the industry to ensure sound competitive practices among competing licensees. We actively engage in strategic collaborations with stakeholders who have a crucial role to play in the growth and development of the Nigerian economy, with a focus on the telecommunications sector,” he added.
- Giving her remarks earlier, Forum Convenor and Business Remarks Editor, Ms. Bukola Olanrewaju said: “Over the years, studies have shown that the license renewal rate of ISPs in Nigeria continues to decline, even as others accept the license. Given the critical need for internet connectivity for the digital economy and for Nigeria’s mass digitization, the role of ISPs is also central to the adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT).
- “Internet service providers in the Nigerian telecommunications industry are struggling to stay afloat due to the challenges their market faces to stay in business, expand operations and generate profits every financial year. Consistent with the above, the results also showed that most ISPs that served the enterprise market lost revenue during the pandemic because their services were canceled or suspended, despite purchasing wholesale capacity,” she observed.
The theme of the event is: “Review of Nigerian Internet Service Providers (ISPs): Viability in a Digitized Environment” was supported 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).