The GSMA, which represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, believes the Nigerian government can unlock up to N862bn (R37,7bn) in GDP growth by 2015 by supporting the roll-out of mobile broadband.
At a press conference in Lagos on Tuesday morning, the GSMA’s special government adviser, Ross Bateson, outlined the findings of a new report by analyst firm Analysys Mason and called on the Nigerian government to unlock the 2,6GHz spectrum band to support high demand for mobile broadband in urban areas.
Bateson also called for the release the so-called “digital dividend spectrum” around 800MHz to deliver broadband services to rural areas and to reduce the 35% tax on Nigeria’s mobile operators.
According to the Analysys Mason study, only 6% of Nigerians have access to broadband services, and 74% of those do so through mobile networks.
There is little fixed broadband connectivity outside Lagos, and even in Nigerian cities most cyber cafes connect to the Internet using wireless services.
“It is essential that the new Nigerian government acts quickly to support mobile broadband expansion, as failure to do so could hinder the country’s social and economic growth,” Bateson said.
The study found that mobile broadband could contribute more than 1% of GDP, or 1,7% of non-oil GDP, by 2015 and would facilitate much needed diversification of the economy.
MTN Nigeria, a subsidiary of SA’s MTN Group, is the West African nation’s largest mobile operator. — Staff reporter, TechCentral