Prof. Umar Danbatta, Executive Vice-Chairman/CEO of NCC

Active GSM subscribers in Nigeria now total 199.3m, says NCC

*Nigeria achieved 42.02 percent broadband penetration as of May 2020 ─Prof. Umar Danbatta, Executive Vice-Chairman/CEO

*Telecommunications has a much greater role to play than many other sectors of economy

*3 Startups receive COVID-19 Research Grant at virtual launch/award ceremony

Emmanuel Akosile | ConsumerConnect

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has revealed that the active Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) subscribers in the country increased from 184 million December 2019 to 199.3 million May 2020.

Prof. Umar Danbatta, Executive Vice-Chairman (EVC) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NCC, stated this at the virtual launch/award ceremony of the COVID-19 Research Grant which the Commission presented to three startups Tuesday, in Abuja, FCT.

Danbatta said the Internet subscriptions in the same period rose from 126 million to 147.1 million, while broadband subscriptions also increased from 72 million to 80.2 million, achieving a 42.02 percent broadband penetration in Nigeria.

The NCC EVC said the startups participated in a 3-month virtual hackathon with the theme Virtual Hackathon: “Adaptable Digital Solutions for Addressing the Present and Future Impact of Pandemic and Epidemic Diseases from Technology Hubs, Startups and Innovation Digital SMEs in Nigeria”.

Prof. Danbatta stated: “These may have given impetus to the possibility of holding virtual meetings and conferences on video technologies that are now providing social distancing solutions.

“So, in whichever way we look at it, telecommunication has a much greater role to play than many other sectors of economy and society.

“Therefore, the challenge is for us to find a way to accentuate our local content solution, which is a blessing to us.

“We are pleased with the responses that we received on this initiative.”

The NCC in the past two years had managed similar ICT-based innovations and research competitions among tertiary institutions in the country, with the potentials of improving local content solutions in the industry, stated he.

He further emphasised that “we should be bold enough as a country in adopting indigenous solutions.

“We must adopt and consume them. There should be less attention to imported goods.

“It is evident that the entire globe is challenged about how best to tackle this pandemic.

“Telecommunications and ICTs have taken the centre stage in the provision or advancement of solutions.”

Danbatta added: “We will all witness what digital solutions that today’s winners are going to bring to the table.
“Each of the Startups, or tech-hubs with promising innovative digital solutions against the pandemic will receive a grant of N3 million.

“We have encouraged ICT innovations among the Nigerian youths whom we have regularly sponsored to various competitions organised by the International Telecommunications Union,” Danbatta said.

Dr. Isa Ali Pantami, Honourable Minister for Communications and Digital Economy, who presented a N9 million COVID-19 research grants to the three promising startups, stated there is a need to adopt indigenous solutions to challenges in the country.

Pantami also encouraged individuals to consume what the country produced and pay less attention to imported goods.

He said: “We need to produce what we need and consume what we produce; any country that remains a consumer nation will find it difficult to succeed.”

Dr. Henry Nkemadu, Director, Research and Development of NCC, said that there was a need to harness the potential of technologies in order to address societal challenges and meet up to standard.

The Hackathon was designed to engage the startups to compete in a healthy manner to improve innovations, said Dr. Nkemadu.

The NCC Director disclosed that 298 submissions were received from startups of, which 56 qualified for the final stage of the evaluation process based on the selection criteria and later came up with three winners.

According to him, “it is a national aspiration to spice some of these technologies with local content as a way of improving the availability of local manpower and advancing ICT skills.

“Technology has provided solutions to the challenge of weak public systems by providing solutions to the most challenges in education, health, financial and agricultural sectors.”

Kindly Share This Story