Nigeria - Telecoms Infrastructure, Operators, Regulations - Statistics and Analyses


Nigeria has one of the largest telecom markets in Africa, supported by the second largest economy on the continent after South Africa. The economy has recovered from the recession experienced in 2016, with DGP growth of 1.9% in 2018. The telecom sector attracts considerable foreign investment, particularly from China, and government infrastructure programs will further stimulate investment in coming years. Market liberalisation measures have also led to hundreds of companies, many of them small and localised, being set up to provide a range of telecom and value-added services.

The mobile sector has benefited from market competition and the wider deployment of LTE technologies, which have in turn supported operator revenue growth and encouraged the adoption of mobile broadband among subscribers. Other than the key mobile network operators, there are a number of additional players operating under a unified licensing regime.

The regulator has licensed a number of regional infrastructure companies (InfraCos) to build the national broadband network and offer capacity to all service providers on a non-discriminatory, open-access and price-regulated basis.

Nigeria has the most competitive fixed-line market in Africa, featuring a second national operator (Globacom) and over 80 other companies licensed to provide fixed-telephony services. The alternative carriers combined provide around 85% of all fixed connections, though in general terms about 80% of all connections are wireless.

Several microwave and fibre-based national backbone networks are being rolled out by various companies. Nitel’s monopoly on international fibre bandwidth via the SAT-3/WASC submarine cable system ended in 2009 when Globacom’s Glo-1 cable landed in the country. The landing of additional submarine cables (supported by improved domestic fibre infrastructure) has delivered a further boost to the country’s developing broadband sector by improving bandwidth and reducing prices for end-users. Globacom is building a second cable, Glo-2, to reinforce its infrastructure in the south of the country.

Key developments:

  • Globacom commissions the Glo-2 cable system;
  • Government approves $328 million loan to complete national backbone project;
  • Regulator licences additional InfraCos;
  • Government pledges to deploy 18,000km of fibre to extend broadband to rural areas;
  • Two additional satellites proposed to provide additional capacity to NigComSat;
  • MTN Nigeria secures licence for spectrum in the 2.6GHz band;
  • Efforts continue to promote infrastructure sharing;
  • Report update includes the regulator’s market data to June 2019, operator data to Q1 2019, Telecom Maturity Index charts and analyses, recent market developments.

Companies mentioned in this report:

Nigerian Telecommunications (Nitel, Pentascope, Transcorp), Globacom, VGC Communications (MTN), Nepskom Communications, MTS First Wireless, Suburban Telecom, Backbone Connectivity Network (BCN), Traffic Network Services, Fibre Tech West Africa, Phase3 Telecom, Alheri Engineering, Gateway Telecoms Integrated Services, Mobitel Nigeria, Prestel (O-Mobile), Galaxy Backbone, 21st Century Technologies, Main One (Mainstreet Technologies), Brymedia, NigComSat, O3b Networks, WASACE.

Table of Contents

  • Key statistics

  • Country overview

  • Telecommunications market

    • Historical overview
  • Regional Africa Market Comparison

    • TMI vs GDP
    • Mobile and mobile broadband
    • Fixed and mobile broadband
  • Regulatory environment

    • Regulatory authority
    • National Telecommunications Policy (NTP)
    • Nigerian Communications Act
    • West African common regulatory framework
    • Interconnection
    • Infrastructure sharing
    • Telecom taxes
    • Universal service
      • National Rural Telephony Program (NRTP)
      • National Information Technology Development (NITD) Fund
      • Backbone Transmission Infrastructure Project (BTRAIN)
    • Telecom sector liberalisation
      • Globacom’s SNO licence
      • Regional fixed-wireless access (FWA) licences
      • International gateway licences
      • Unified licensing regime
    • Privatisation of Nitel
  • Fixed network operators

    • Nigerian Telecommunications (Nitel)
      • National backbone network
      • Wireless Local Loop (WLL)
    • Globacom
      • Network infrastructure
      • Fibre optic backbone network
      • International presence
      • Services
      • International expansion
    • VGC Communications
    • National Long-Distance Operators (NLDO)
    • Fixed-wireless network operators
      • MTS First Wireless
      • Mobitel Nigeria
      • Prestel (O-Mobile)
      • Regional FWA operators
  • Telecommunications infrastructure

    • Overview of the national telecom network
    • Backbone networks
      • National Information Infrastructure Backbone (NIIB)
      • NIPTI
      • Suburban Telecom
      • Phase3 Telecom
      • Backbone Connectivity Network (BCN)
      • Private networks
    • International terrestrial infrastructure
      • The Central African Backbone (CAB)
      • Nigeria – Niger link
      • Trans-Saharan Backbone
      • NNPC network
    • International submarine infrastructure
      • SAT-3/WASC
      • Glo-1
      • Main One
      • WACS
      • ACE
      • WASACE
    • Satellite
      • Rascom
      • NigComSat
      • O3b Networks
    • Data centres
  • Appendix – Historic data

  • Related reports

List of Tables

  • Table 2 – Financial bids for Nitel/M-Tel, first and second round – 2010
  • Table 3 – Fixed-wireless lines by operator – 2014 - 2019
  • Table 4 – International internet bandwidth in Nigeria – 2001 – 2016
  • Table 5 – Historic - Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 1999 – 2009

List of Charts

  • Chart 1 – Telecom sector contribution to GDP – 2010 – 2019
  • Chart 2 – Overall Africa view - Telecoms Maturity Index vs GDP per Capita – 2018
  • Chart 3 – West Africa - Telecoms Maturity Index vs GDP per Capita – 2018
  • Chart 4 – Africa – Bottom-tier Telecoms Maturity Index (Market Emergents) – 2018
  • Chart 5 – West Africa –Telecoms Maturity Index by country – 2018
  • Chart 6 – West Africa mobile subscriber penetration versus mobile broadband penetration – 2018
  • Chart 7 – West Africa fixed and mobile penetration rates – 2018
  • Chart 8 – Evolution of fixed lines in service and teledensity – 2005 – 2024
  • Chart 9 – Growth in the number of VoIP lines (by operator) – 2016 – 2019

List of Exhibits

  • Exhibit 1 – Generalised Market Characteristics by Market Segment
  • Exhibit 2 – West Africa - Key Characteristics of Telecoms Markets by Country
  • Exhibit 3 – Regional FWA licensees
  • Exhibit 4 – Regional FWA licensees in Nigeria

Related Reports

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Companies (Major Players)
Regulations & Government Policies
Strategies & Analyses (Industry & Markets)
Telecoms Infrastructure

Number of pages 75

Status Current

Last updated 2 Aug 2019
Update History

Analyst: Henry Lancaster

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