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Digital Economy: 5G Deployment driving telecoms, FDIs in Nigeria by 325 percent –NBS

*The National Bureau of Statistics capital importation data shows increased 5G Networks rollout and 4G expansion significantly improved foreign investments into the telecoms sector in Nigeria by 325.12 percent Q4 2022

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

The Nigerian Communications Commission’s (NCC) effort at activating the West African country’s Digital Economy programme has continued to record marked success and boost the Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) in the telecommunications sector of the economy.

ConsumerConnect reports the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) capital importation data indicated increased 5G Technology rollout and 4G expansion improved foreign investments into the telecoms sector by 325.12 percent 2022.

The NBS data also showed the telecoms industry attracted $456.82million 2022, compared to $107.46million that was attracted 2021.

It was gathered that the important sector had continued to retain its foreign investment appeal despite Nigeria’s current challenging economic environment.

Though telecoms recorded an increase in foreign investments by fourth quarter (Q4) last year, the total foreign investments into the country fell by 20.47 percent or $1.37billion from $6.7billion in 2021 to $5.33billion 2022.

In respect of the sectors that attracted the most investments Q4 2022, the Bureau noted: “Disaggregated by sectors, capital importation into the production sector recorded the highest inflow of $392.54million, representing 37.01 percent of total capital imported in Q4 2022.

“This was followed by capital imported into the banking sector, valued at $255.45m (24.08 percent), and telecoms with $168.27m (15.86 percent).”


Network expansion, teledensity and Broadband connectivity, by NCC

Amid the damaging Coronavirus (COVID-19), networks further increased the reliance of virtually every sector on the Nigerian communication backbone.

The telecoms sector also recorded increased network roll-out to expand coverage.

According to the telecoms regulatory Commission’s statistics, teledensity, which is the number of active telephone connections per 1,000 inhabitants living within an area, increased from 97.45 percent as of January 2020 to 119.01 percent as of February 2023.

Broadband penetration also grew from 38.49 percent to 48.49 percent with mobile Internet subscriptions from 128.37 million to 156.42 million, and mobile subscriptions from 185.74 million to 226.84 million within the time under review.

MTN Nigeria and Airtel Networks disclosed that they invested N613.13billion in 4G expansion and 5G rollout 2022.

The two Nigerian Telcos increased their network investments by 14.19 percent year-on-year from the N536.91bn spent in 2021.

In regard to the telecoms companies’ network rollout, The Punch report noted MTN said: “Capital expenditure was N504.3billion, up 23.5 percent, due to acceleration in coverage expansion, focusing on the 4G and 5G networks and our rural telephony programme.

“We deployed 9,027 4G sites, 588 5G sites and 778 rural sites.

“4G accounted for approximately 76 per cent of the total sites deployed during the year.”

Likewise, Mr. Segun Ogunsanya, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Airtel reportedly stated: “Over the last nine months we have spent almost $490m on 4G and 5G spectrum across key markets to improve network capacity and quality, future-proof the company for continued growth opportunities and facilitate economic progress in all our markets.”

With the continued shift to digital technologies and a digital economy, 5G Networks, a new technology recently launched in Nigeria, is expected to dominate and further increase foreign investments in the sector, report said.

The Global System for Mobile Communication Association (GSMA), a  global body for Telcos, recently stated that the 5G rollout in 10 top cities in Nigeria would cost telcos $500million.

The Association disclosed the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) would need to build 6,000 base stations in this regard.

Telecoms industry is pride Nigerian economy: ATCON COO

Commenting on the positive impact of increased investments in the sector, Mr. Ajibola Olude, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) recently stated: “5G has contributed to this growth, which has led to increased investments.

“The rollout of 5G is driving investments, which are coming from abroad. “The purchase of 5G investment is also driving growth.”

Olude said: “Also, the sector has become the pride of the Nigerian economy, which means that the adoption of communication and digital products has increased.”

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