Nigeria Still Has Opportunity in Fixed Line Sector with Growing VoIP Use
September 19, 2013
By Ed Silverstein
, TMCnet Contributor
Despite many parts of the world opting for wireless service, it appears there is still demand for fixed-line telecom services in Nigeria.
Among the reasons for the need for fixed-line services are the many companies that have scattered operations across the nation. Remote offices need to be able to communicate with each other.
“There are big businesses in the financial services, telecoms, oil and gas industries with huge number of employees scattered across countless branches. Increasingly, these businesses are demanding for cheaper fixed voice telephony to enable employees communicate with their counterparts in other branches effectively,” Vernon Van Rooyen, executive head, network operations, Vodacom (News - Alert) Business, told BusinessDay.
Also, increased demand for Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) among enterprises is leading to more demand for fixed-line telephony, BusinessDay reported.
Fixed-line networks need significant capital expenditure, while wireless technologies tend to be less expensive.
“Many countries with under-developed fixed-line networks have achieved rapid mobile telephony growth with much less investment than fixed-line networks would have needed,” Leonard Waverman, a fellow at London Business School, explained in a report.
For example, in one part of rural northern Nigeria there was no fixed-line service, and the Fantsuam Foundation provided VoIP on its wireless network. Fantsuam’s Internet signal reaches out 15 km, reaching more than 100,000 residents. The ZittNet network includes schools, banks and hotels, as well as health-care facilities.
Yet, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has been trying to get more investment in broadband infrastructure use, which will help Nigeria’s fixed-line industry.
VoIP can lead to lower costs and users have access to advanced calling features.
The encouragement seen in the fixed-line industry is positive news for the Nigerian sector. Even though the nation has 2.4 million connected fixed-lines, only 410, 664 of them were actually active, according to recent government data.
“Nigeria needs to revive its fixed-line infrastructure,” Kamar Abass, country manager for Ericsson (News - Alert) Nigeria, told the news media recently. He added that “fixed-line infrastructure complements mobile networks, and are indeed critical to the development of Nigeria’s broadband market,” BusinessDay reported.
Edited by Rachel Ramsey