Thursday , July 25 2024
Maida Maneuvers: NCC EVC Considers 2G Challenge in Push for 25% Telecom GDP

Maida Maneuvers: NCC EVC Considers 2G Challenge in Push for 25% Telecom GDP

In a strategic move to propel Nigeria’s telecom sector towards a 25% contribution to the GDP, the Nigerian Communications Commission’s Executive Vice Chairman, Dr. Aminu Maida, is tackling a critical hurdle – the large population of users still reliant on outdated 2G technology.

This “Maida Maneuver” requires a delicate balancing act, ensuring industry growth and affordability for consumers as the nation strives for a high-tech future.

Maida who noted that the commission aims for a 25% telecom contribution to GDP, made this disclosure during a reception held in his honor by the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) on Friday.

According to the EVC, the sector’s 14.58 percent contribution is impressive, but it could do better if the current challenges confronting the sector are addressed.

While expressing confidence in the sector’s potential, he highlights the low penetration of advanced networks – over half of Nigeria’s nearly 200 million connected lines are still on 2G. This significantly limits internet speeds and hinders the full potential of mobile data services.

Data from the commission’s website shows that out of the 219 million active subscriptions recorded in March this year, 56.97 percent of them were on 2G, while only 32.74 percent were on 4G.

Maida has acknowledged the challenge, emphasizing the need to bridge the digital divide. He has also assured a balanced approach that prioritizes both industry needs and consumer welfare.

This could involve exploring alternative revenue streams for Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) beyond potential tariff hikes. The success of this ambitious plan hinges on a multi-pronged approach. Upgrading infrastructure, promoting technology adoption, and fostering a business environment that attracts investment are all crucial elements.

In the same vein, speaking of tariff increase, the NCC Boss acknowledged the challenges faced by Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and the need for sustainable business practices.

However, Maida assures a balancing act. The NCC, he says, prioritizes both industry needs and consumer welfare. Striking a fair deal for all stakeholders might involve exploring alternative solutions to ensure long-term industry growth without placing undue burden on consumers, Maida noted.

The coming months will be interesting as Maida navigates this complex landscape, striving to achieve a 25% GDP contribution for the telecom sector while ensuring a smooth transition for 2G users. Bridging this digital divide is crucial for achieving the 25% GDP target.

Will it involve infrastructure investments to expand 4G coverage and incentivize user migration? Or will it focus on policy changes that encourage investment from Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs)?

About Bukola Olanrewaju

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