Current data by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has revealed that a total of 49,579 telecoms towers were deployed to provide telecommunication services in Nigeria in 2021.
The paucity of the infrastructure accounted for the low quality of services received in some areas across the country.
The facilities are not evenly distributed across the nation as some states suffer while the concentration of the infrastructure is more in a few states.
According to the regulatory agency, the infrastructure were largely installed in three states of Lagos, Ogun and Rivers, making quality of services provided on those states better than others.
Out of the 36 states in the country, the three states accounted for 21 per cent of the total towers, while the other 33 states accounted for the remaining 79 per cent.
NCC stated that the total was the combined infrastructure deployed by mobile and fixed operators as well as collocation and infrastructure companies as of December 2021.
Specifically, Lagos had the largest number of towers deployed as of December 2021, as it recorded 5,851 towers. Ogun State came second in terms of installed towers with 2,418, while Rivers State had 2,049.
The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, was the fourth on the list with the largest telecom infrastructure. It had 1,944 towers, followed by Oyo and Edo states, which had 1,713 and 1,556 installed towers respectively.
The data also revealed that states such as Kebbi, Bayelsa, Ebonyi, Gombe, Yobe and Zamfara had the least number of telecom infrastructure in the country.
It was revealed that the number and capacity of towers in a region determines the quality of service received in the area.
According to the experts, each tower has the capacity to serve a number of users, hence when too many phone users are on a particular tower, the network becomes congested, leading to poor quality of service.
A state or an area with a high number of towers tends to enjoy better quality service than the areas with low number of the infrastructure.
Noting the existing gap in the telecom infrastructure, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, has pledged that the stakeholders would strive to bridge the gap with the implementation of the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP) 2020-2025.
NNBP is an initiative of the Federal Government being driven by NCC to address infrastructure gaps in the telecom and ICT sectors.
“One of the identified gaps to robust connectivity was the fact that inadequate infrastructure remained a bane to achieving desired broadband penetration to boost access to services that will enhance economic growth and development.
“The Commission recognises the importance of infrastructure expansion and this explains its unequivocal commitment and desire to see the licensed Infrastructure Companies (InfraCos) work speedily and with precision to cascade fibre to the hinterland, in order to enhance robust telecom service provision,” he said.
He said the InfraCo licensees, expectedly, also prioritise stipulated licensing conditions to ensure expected milestones set by the Commission are achieved
The EVC stated that the Commission’s target for licensing the infraCos was to ensure the deployment of fibre infrastructure needed for pervasive broadband penetration across the 774 local government areas (LGAs).
This, he said, would ensure access to telecoms services in the hinterlands of the country and, by so doing, address the challenges of access confronting the unserved and underserved areas of the country.
Dambatta informed the agency has been making strategies to promote the indigenous content by supporting the local production. He said the Commission would soon hold the maiden edition of the Nigerian Telecommunications Indigenous Content Expo (NTICE2022) to encourage the indigenous operators and manufacturers.
According to a him, the expo will promote the four focus areas of the National Policy on the Promotion and Implementation of indigenous content in the telecommunications sector (NPPIC), which are manufacturing, service and software, people, research and development for innovation in line with the presidential mandate to diversify the economy.
The event with the theme: “Stimulating the Development of Indigenous Content through Innovation and Commercialisation” is focused on bringing together all stakeholders in the communications value chain and serving as a platform where practicable ideas and solutions can be birthed for the purpose of stimulating demand and supply of indigenous solutions, technologies and capacity building, amongst others.