Wednesday, June 03, 2009

‘Africa, next big stop for operators’

The continent of Africa has become the next big stop for telecommunications and satellite operators, according to the chief executive officer, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Ernest Ndukwe.

This is more so for those who want to enjoy the advantages of the inherent huge market on the continent in order to deliver broadband infrastructure.

Speaking at the fourth stakeholders forum in Lagos, last week, on the theme
“Wireless Technology as a means to achieving universal access,” Ndukwe who was represented at the occasion by the Head, Economic Analysis and Corporate Planning, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Ms. Funlola Akiode, said that at the moment, there are about 600 transponders’ capacity over the continent and more satellites are being built.

Interestingly, he said, that most of these satellite operators are quite willing and ready to dedicate spot beams to various countries in Africa, while others are busy persuading African governments to co-launch with them.

As said by him, it is not only ground facilities that offer wireless facilities, “Satellites are making their contributions.”

Stressing that factually, satellite communications are fast becoming some of the most dependable platforms of broadband especially for developing countries of the world.

He also said that most modern wireless technologies like the Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) and Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) offer heavy broadband capacity, hence making it easy for subscribers to get connected.

While inviting operators of telecom and satellites to take advantage posed by African and Nigerian market precisely, Ndukwe said that Nigeria would continue to engage these operators to give the nation the best of deals.

“Our primary goal is to make cost of access and acquisition very affordable,” he said.

He urged stakeholders not to assume that NCC know all the answers, saying that they would appreciate stakeholders engagement that would give rise to new regulatory measures such that will be needed to properly handle a growing sector like in the case of Nigeria.

“… Spearhead new public and private sector initiatives that will be needed to properly pry open a sector that will yet be the biggest contributor to the country’s economy,” he tasked, declaring that the future belongs to wireless technology and the journey ahead needs every stakeholders’ cooperation.

“I am convinced that the real secret to Nigeria’s success lies in partnership. Partnership between governments, partnership between public and private sector organizations and partnership between locally-based enterprises and international companies,” he said.

Pointing out that connecting the unconnected has become very exigent in Nigeria and at once attracted a new meaning and interpretation especially taken into consideration the very slow pace experienced in recent times until when mobile technology unlocked the potentials of the Nigerian market.

Ndukwe described wireless technology as an absence of wire line in the process of communications, which fits Nigerian situation, noting that wireless has become a generic term that refers to numerous forms of transmission that do not use metal wires or optical fibres.

But added that technology, no doubt, has been very fair to developing countries, hence there is no need to lament that the nation really missed out in the wire line revolution, because, wireless technology has become a means of closing that gap, thereby enabling most countries including poor nations to be connected to the world, today.

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