The global telecommunications industry continues to expand, driven by the proliferation of smartphones, improved network infrastructure, and enhanced service quality. In the same vein, 5G technology is gaining popularity due to its low latency, performance and reliability, as well as its ability to support massive machine-type communication. As the global economy continues on its recovery path in the aftermath of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we believe that the global telecommunications sector’s near-term focus will shift to the expansion of 5G deployments across more countries. In Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), the telecom sector’s growth has been driven by a young and tech-savvy population and rising mobile/smartphone penetration. Furthermore, the SSA sub-region has witnessed a surge in 5G-related activities, as telecom operators acquire the necessary licenses to achieve market penetration.
In the Nigerian context, active telephony subscriptions reached 222.6 million at the end of 2022, with mobile cellular coverage in all 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. The country’s four major mobile-cellular operators (9mobile, Airtel Nigeria, Globacom and MTN Nigeria) have varying levels of coverage (which comprises 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G), network strength, and capacity, though only MTN Nigeria has launched 5G operations, while Airtel recently acquired a 5G licence from the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC). While we recognise that the liberalization of the Industry has triggered investment and growth, the weak macroeconomic environment continues to threaten the considerable potential of the Nigerian Telecommunications Industry.
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