About 49,905,418 phone lines in Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy by GDP, were inactive in the last quarter of 2014, according to figures released by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC). According to the telecom regulator, total numbers of connected lines are 186, 543, 273. But only 136, 637,853 lines were active and generating revenue for the country.
A breakdown of the figures showed that GSM companies had 182,437,896 million connected lines, out of which 134,040,603 million lines were active in November 2014. For the CDMA, 3,742,142 million lines were connected, but had 2,413,695 active. Also for the period under review, the fortune of fixed lines continued to dwindle as the figures showed that connected fixed lines in the country dropped slightly from 363,233 in October to 362,406. Only 183,555 are active. The country’s telephone teledensity however has also risen to 97.6 percent.
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Meanwhile, the figures published by NCC show that Nigeria’s telephone subscription surpassed the country’s estimated population of above 170 million. A situation, Ikechukwu Nnamani, a Lagos-based telecom expert/CEO of Medallion Communications, attributed to poor telecommunications services, thereby allowing subscribers to own more than one phone. “It is a simple arithmetic. People own more than one phone, so it is not surprising that the numbers of telephone lines are more than the number of people in Nigeria if we are to go with the 170 million population estimate,” he said.
Bayo Banjo, president, Nigeria Internet Group (NIG), attributed this to poor telecommunications services, as occasioned by drop calls; unsolicited text messages; connection flaws; illegal credit deductions; incomplete calls, among others.
He said these factors had increased the profile of the country’s multi-SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) nature, where a majority of subscribers operate two to three networks on the go, all because of poor service.
In view of this, Banjo said the ministry of communications technology and the industry regulator needed to adhere strictly to making policies, rules, guidelines and regulations, rather than involve in the telecommunications business. He said: “It is important that the minister of communications technology, Omobola Johnson and the executive vice chairman of the NCC, Eugene Juwah, adhere strictly to these. “So, rather than finding a way to hand over Nigerian Communication Satellite to the private sector, and allowing Galaxy to bid for jobs, they are now trying to remain in the game and expand their influence, like with the creation of infrastructure companies as regional monopolies.”