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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Telecom to add N826bn to Nigeria’s economy – GSMA

The Global System for Mobile Association (GSMA) has predicted that telecommunications could add N826 billion to Nigeria’s economy in the next four years.

According to the Special Government Advisor to GSMA, Mr. Ross Bateson accompanied by the Marketing Director, GSMA Mr. Sandra Gilligan, who was in the country to present the Analysys Mason report to the Nigerian media, said mobile broadband could hugely contribute to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the nation.

In the report tagged Broadband Imperatives: Capacity Spectrum, the GSMA advisor said that key social and educational benefits would add to the value of broadband, stressing that the new government after April polls must put policies in place to encourage growth.

He noted that though the GSM Association retained its original name, it has over-time seen a steady evolution of mobile technologies and services through wideband Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA), High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) through the consumer of Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology this year.

“Many of you will be aware of the first live LTE network in Stockholm and Oslo run by Telia Sonera which is now being spread further through their portfolio of companies to offer services in Denmark, Estonia and Lithuania. They will of course be joined by a number of other companies including Verizon in the United States.

They also said that Third Generation (3G) and Fourth Generation (4G) technologies have seen service offerings rise from simple voice, to a wider number of data services.

“Importantly, with the advent of HSPA, HSPA+ and now LTE, we now count streaming video as an important part of our service mix,” he said.

He traced the history of GSMA to 1987 when 15 operators committed resources to jointly develop a cross border digital system for mobile communications.

He pointed out that this became the global trade group for the mobile industry, representing the vast majority of mobile phone networks across the world.

“Now encompassing commercial, public policy and technical initiatives, ensuring mobile services work globally the Association’s members now serve more than 4 billion customers, more than 750 operator members across 218 countries and over 200 associate members, that is manufacturers and suppliers,” he said.

Mobile’s role in economic recovery, GSMA said is as the driver of investment, highlighting the fact that the industry is predicted to attract $800 billion investment, globally, during the next five years.

“This will be fuelled by demand for mobile broadband,” he said, emphasising that a recent World Bank analysis of 120 countries estimated that for every 10 per cent increase in penetration of broadband services, there is an increase in economic growth of 1.3 per cent,” he said.

On the mobile’s role in social value, Bateson said that globally policy makers have identified widespread internet access as a critical tool in social development.

“Mobile broadband provides a perfect platform to deliver social value,” he said.

According to him, the Analysys Mason, was commissioned by GSMA to produce a series of reports outlining the economic benefits brought by broadband.

He noted that the work-follow is a wider number of studies carried out by institutions including the World Bank which closely link broadband connectivity with GDP growth.

Bateson further said that this report documents the economic impact which increased broadband connectivity could have in Nigeria by 2015.

Nigerians, the GSMA advisor said, enjoy the internet on mobile devices offering Internet access through cyber cafes is being replaced by ownership of device.

Best-practice spectrum and taxation policies, he said, are vital to continued growth.

Mobile diversification and competition, the trade group said, entails diversifying through the broadband market in the country.

Significant investment is being created in a multi-player market, GSMA saying that a technology arms race is driving up user experience in HSPA – HSPA + - LTE.

Mobile broadband, the group said, is driven by HSPA and LTE could make 1.22 per cent contribution to Nigerian economy by 2015.

Broadband, GSM Association said, would add to existing contribution by mobile voice while the benefits include amplifying development of digital economy.

Policy, he said, necessities that free spectrum would exist at 2500-2690MHz thereby encouraging the free-up of digital dividend, create transparent and supportive tax system, put spectrum management in the hands of one agency.

Additionally, it would simplify environmental assessment process and broadband Imperatives, stressing that correct spectrum.

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